Health Reform WK-EDGE Fifth Amendment challenge of ACA individual mandate penalty fails
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Monday, September 21, 2020

Fifth Amendment challenge of ACA individual mandate penalty fails

By Sheryl Allenson, J.D. and Kayla R. Bryant, J.D.

A pro se taxpayer seeking a refund of the shared responsibility payment under the Affordable Care Act failed to support his claim.

A district court dismissed a taxpayer’s allegations that the shared responsibility payments assessed against him under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) violated his Fifth Amendment rights. The district court noted that the payment has been found constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, and found that the complaint failed to adequately allege a violation of rights. Additionally, the taxpayer’s claims for refunds failed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Bucholz v. Mnuchin, September 10, 2020, Jackson, A.).

Challenge to shared responsibility payment. The taxpayer requested and received a refund of his shared responsibility payment for the 2014 and 2015 tax years, but his request for refund was denied multiple times for the 2016 tax year payment. The complaint alleged that the ACA shared responsibility payment was an unlawful, discriminatory tax and a violation of due process. The complaint alleged that it amounted to the taking of his personal property due to an act of Congress, and that IRS employees personally violated his rights upon initially denying his claims.

Dismissal. The government officials moved to dismiss the complaint by arguing that the individual mandate portion of the ACA has been deemed constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The district court agreed, finding that the Supreme Court’s prior holding as well as a D.C. Circuit case have established that the penalty does not violate the Fifth Amendment. The court also noted that it did not have jurisdiction over claims related to 2017 and 2018 tax returns, because the taxpayer must seek a refund and appeal any denials through the administrative process. The complaint was dismissed.

The case is Civil Action No. 19-1730 (ABJ).

Attorneys: Kyle Lamar Bishop, U.S. Department of Justice, for Steven T. Mnuchin and Charles Rettig.

Cases: CaseDecisions AgencyNews IndividualMandateNews DistrictofColumbiaNews

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