WASHINGTON, DC – A proposed amendment to Senate Bill 1813 is aiming to expand the reach of the Internal Revenue Service. While introduced under the umbrella of stopping terrorism, many are beginning to fear it may be used to impede the free movement of American citizens under no suspicion of terrorism at all.
The provision which was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was passed by the Senate on March 14 “to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.”
In classic Washington style, “other purposes” has become a backdoor to items totally unconnected from the original bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently introduced an amendment that would allow the State Department to revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the Internal Revenue Service certifies as having “a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000.”
Backers of the amendment say the provision makes exceptions if the debt “is being paid in a timely manner” or “in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons.” Opponents rightly point out the amendment doesn’t require a person actually be charged with tax evasion before having their passport revoked — only that the IRS has filed a notice of lien or levy against them.
Since the IRS routinely files tax liens for a number of reasons that do not include criminal charges, this amendment could include a wide array of cases that have nothing to do with terrorism. For example this bill would allow the IRS to suspend travel rights to more than 30,000 active-duty troops and an equal number of reserve members who owe the Internal Revenue Service a collective $390 million in back taxes.
Other factors of this bill would enable the IRS to:
- Accuse Americans of delinquency of tax payment without due process
- Revoke their passports and travel rights
- Place the accused in a centralize database
- Authorize the removal of their right to own a firearm
The most troubling aspect of this bill is that no formal charges are required. Simply the accusation from the IRS is sufficient to strip American citizens of their constitutional rights. As the Daily Economist reported, “There is no requirement that the tax payer be guilty of or even charged with tax evasion, fraud, or any criminal offense — only that the citizen is alleged to owe the IRS back taxes of $50,000 or more.”
Constitutional attorney Angel Reyes says that’s a violation of due process and is unconstitutional. “It takes away your right to enter or exit the country based upon a non-judicial IRS determination that you owe taxes,” Reyes told FOX Business. “It’s a scary thought that our congressional representatives want to give the IRS the power to detain US citizens over taxes, which could very well be in dispute.”
“There are so many people that fall into that situation,” said financial adviser Clark Hodges, “and I think that’s too invasive. Especially coming out of a bad economy there are a lot of people behind on a lot of things.”
With the economy still sluggish, some in Washington are looking for any way possible to fill the federal coffers. President Obama is already mobilizing an additional four thousand IRS agents to “assist people in need of healthcare” under his challenged Obamacare. Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid want to give the agency even more power. Hopefully, the Republican controlled House will put stop to this veiled attempt to restrict our rights even more.