Internet master Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report announced to the internet on Friday that he had paid the Obamacare individual mandate penalty, which he called a "liberty tax." That's unlikely.
Just paid the Obamacare penalty for not 'getting covered'... I'M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX!— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) March 21, 2014
Actually, it's not clear what Drudge is saying he actually paid. There are a few options, none of which really fit.
Update, Saturday: Matt Drudge responded to criticisms over his tweet late Friday by clarifying that he'd "paid '14 1st QTR tax estimates." Originally Drudge tweeted that "small businesses" are now paying their quarterly taxes, though his business is likely too small to be affected by the employer mandate. Self-employed individuals file taxes early as well.
Update, Saturday: The Wire reached out to the H&R Block Tax Institute, which said you’re free to over pay your tax obligation on your quarterly estimated tax form, but the IRS has “no way to designate it as penalty prepayment.” The line item for “other taxes owed” doesn’t mention the health law penalty, and the IRS still needs to offer guidance over several aspects of the penalty, the company said in an email.
“When the return is filed (in 2015) the overpayment of the estimated taxes likely would get netted against all taxes due and cover the penalty,” according to H&R Block. The actual estimated tax form states the mandate should be paid with the 2014 return next year, though “you may want to consider this when figuring your ‘Other taxes’” owed.
It's not the individual mandate penalty.
The individual mandate penalty is a fee assessed if you haven't spent at least nine months of the year covered by health insurance. Since that started in 2014, the first time that fee will be assessed is in 2015, when you do your 2014 taxes. So he'll need to wait until around January 31, 2015, the first day he can file his 2014 taxes. That's 316 days from now, not today.