Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ACA tax email: Alarming but bogus

Former colleague Pat Gubbins forwarded a message that landed in her inbox recently,  detailing a list of hefty tax hikes "passed under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare."  She was skeptical,  but it came from a financial professional and,  as she noted,  "the increases are indeed alarming if true."

Actually,  it's a viral email that labeled  "nonsense"  when it started circulating at income tax time,  now updated for election season.  Here's the version Gubbins got,  forwarded by a cousin in Tennessee.

Company Logo
a Registered Investment Advisor 
(Celebrating 42 years of Professional Service) 
In case you didn't notice. 
Here is what happened on January 1, 2014 : 
Top Medicare tax went from 1.45% to 2.35%
Top Income tax bracket went from 35% to 39.6%
Top Income payroll tax went from 37.4% to 52.2%
Capital Gains tax went from 15% to 28%
Dividends tax went from 15% to 39.6%
Estate tax went from 0% to 55%
Remember this fact: These taxes were all passed only with democrat votes, no republicans voted for these taxes.
These taxes were all passed under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
If you think that it is important enough that everyone in the U.S. should know this, pass it on. If not, then delete it.
Elections are coming! 
William C. Heath, CFP® . 
Chairman & CEO .

Here's what FactCheck had to say: "Some of these figures aren’t accurate, and none of these increases took effect on Jan. 1, 2014, or had anything to do with the Affordable Care Act.  And the claim that  'not one Republican voted to do these'  is false."

It's not that the ACA doesn't include tax hikes.  It does,  including increased Medicare taxes on high earners,  a new tax on high-cost employer-sponsored insurance plans and penalties for people who don't get coverage.  But this list seems aimed at creating outrage and anger before people go to the polls next week,  not analyzing the health care program.

William Heath is indeed the chairman and CEO of Barrington,  a Houston-based financial firm with offices in Texas and California.  When I inquired,  he noted that he didn't write the email,  but he didn't deny forwarding a message filled with inaccuracies.

"No matter when or who caused the increases, we, the taxpayer, will be paying them,"  Heath said in an email.  He cited the final paragraph from the FactCheck report:  "Having said all that,  we’ll note that taxes have gone up for some as a result of Obamacare.  The law imposes a 3.8 percent tax on net investment income that applies to people who earn more than $200,000 a year for singles,  or $250,000 for joint filers. It also levies an additional Medicare tax of 0.9 percent on wages,  salaries and self-employment income for people in those income groups.  However, these changes also took effect in 2013,  not 2014." 


Anonymous said...

Here are the real figures from the bill that was enacted in to law in 2012. This bill was a bipartisan bill that was made to avoid the country falling off of the "fiscal cliff".