Steve Russell: Claiming the Indian tax exemption for health care

The Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage is managed by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Photo from ANTHC

Judge and professor Steve Russell offers instructions on how to fill out Form 8965 to claim the Indian tax exemption in the Affordable Care Act:
The claim that Indians do not generally have to pay federal taxes is a load of hooey, but few of us have not heard it. The Indian tax exemption is like the unicorn, but it does get attention, and right now I need the attention of the vast majority of Indians who do in fact pay federal income tax.

The Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare contained a tax on “free riding,” failing to carry health insurance. There was a big legal dispute about whether the sum was a tax or a penalty. The government calls it a “shared responsibility” payment. Whatever it is called, it’s money out of your pocket unless you buy insurance or claim an exemption.

The tax on free riding is to discourage people from using the fact that insurance can no longer be denied because of a preexisting condition to go without insurance until, having gotten seriously ill, they really must have health insurance. There is a sense in which this tax really does have an Indian exemption.

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Steve Russell: Indian Tax Exemption: What You Need to Know (Indian Country Today 1/19)

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