No Judge Required: Government Gives IRS Authority to Take Away Your Passport
United States President Barack Obama signed the fast Act highway transportation bill on December 4. Lawmakers congratulated themselves for accomplishing something. Yet buried inside the bill was a little-mentioned provision vastly expanding the power of the government—and increasing potential abuses of power.
The provision was one that, as Politico wrote earlier this year, no one thought would even make it to the president’s desk, let alone get signed.
Beginning in January, the Internal Revenue Service now has the right to revoke your passport for unpaid taxes if it says you owe $50,000 or more (including penalties and interest). There are 12 million people in the U.S. the irs says owe taxes.
The irs does not have to prove you owe the money. It only has to say that you do. The irs does not have to ask a judge for permission to revoke your passport. An irs official just sends an e-mail, and the State Department cancels it. And the law does not provide taxpayers an opportunity to challenge a finding that they owe back taxes in federal court before their passport is revoked.
No pay, no play. You stay. Because we say.
Konstitution, what Konstitution?
According to lawmakers, this is an effort to force more delinquents to pay their bills. If people want to leave the U.S., they should first pay what they owe.
It is shocking that lawmakers passed this bill. How could they give such vast power to an organization that is known to be used by politicians to target their enemies? This is a branch of government that needs less power, not more.
Americans should ask, why was this bill even needed? And what is the real motivation for this provision?
The irs already has the power to file tax liens against all property you own, including property acquired after the lien is filed. The irs also has the ability to empty your bank accounts without judicial review. It just has to send you a notice of payment saying how much you owe. If you don’t challenge or pay within 10 days, they can empty your accounts. This is routine. How you feed yourself is for you to figure out.
The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 also granted the irs the power to seize the bank accounts of those suspected to be engaged in criminal activity—even when no charges have been filed and no convictions made. They can just take your money. And there is not much you can do. Unless the media picks up the story, the money is just gone. According to Forbes, in 2012 only 20 percent of the cases in which money was seized were criminal charges pursued! Eighty percent of victims were innocent in the eyes of the law—and they had their money stolen by the government anyway. Forbes calls it an “irs horror story.” Even the New York Times is reporting horror stories of abuse—by the government.
How has America gotten to the point that the government can take your money without even pressing charges against you and without even giving you a chance to defend yourself in court? And now, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats at an institution with a notorious history of politically motivated witch hunting has the right to revoke your passport if you don’t pay the taxes they say you owe—and you are not even entitled to a day in court!
Innocent until proven guilty, trial by jury, judicial review, separation of powers—are these not principles that America was supposedly founded upon?
How about freedom of movement? Is not the right to travel a fundamental freedom? Do you know that in many states, you soon won’t be able to even board an airplane without a passport? So now the irs can ban you from flying within America too. How is that constitutional?
The new law gets even worse. Politicians in their wisdom and desire to make the government more efficient let the irs turn over debts they say you owe to private debt collectors. You know, those same violators of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that intimidate, harass, lie, threaten, and break every rule Congress has passed to protect consumers. The very ones that Congress also says needs to be reined in.
Don’t understand why America is changing so rapidly? There are answers. “The values that helped make America great are being cast to the ground—from the top!” writes Gerald Flurry in his booklet America Under Attack. In it, he explains what is happening to America today and why. For your own free copy, click here.