If you’re a libertarian you’ve probably heard a lot about civil asset forfeiture. Most people in America have not but its a disturbing trend in government overreach and abuse. This law allows authorities (namely the IRS) to seize the cash or property assets from any citizen if they deem the use of that cash “suspicious”.
In theory its a law that would target drug dealers or other crime activities. In reality it ends up becoming an untenable burden to many average, every-day Americans. If you deposit or withdraw more than $10,000 too many times at your bank, the IRS can (and has) take all your cash and you have no recourse. If you get caught carrying too much cash at one time (say, if you’re buying a car or large purchase and wish to pay cash directly) the authorities can take that cash from you under CAF. Its happened and continues to happen.
Its outrageous and frustrating. Those who have been affected have seen their life’s savings stolen and suffered great financial despair because of this arbitrary law.
From the Daily Signal:
In a victory for lawmakers working to make it harder for the government to take property from innocent Americans, the Internal Revenue Service plans to give people who have had money seized over the last six years the chance to petition to get their money back, The Daily Signal has learned.
According to a GOP source, the IRS told the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee that it will send letters to everyone the agency seized money from for alleged structuring violations, which involves making consistent cash transactions of just under $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements, starting in October 2009.
The GOP source said that amounts to roughly 700 cases, and those involved will have the opportunity to file petitions for remission or mitigation—akin to a petition for a presidential pardon—with the tax agency.
The Institute for Justice has successfully defended several victims of the Bank Secrecy Act and continues to petition the government to address the complaints of these innocent citizens caught up in a nefarious government practice. The pressure they and others have put on our representatives to protect their citizens has led to positive bipartisan move from two representative on the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee.
Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., are introducing a bill further protecting people from having money wrongfully seized by the government, The Daily Signal has learned.
Roskam and Crowley’s bill, called the Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers Respect Act, prohibits the IRS from seizing money from property owners who allegedly commit structuring violations unless the tax agency proves the money was tied to a crime.
The Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers Respect Act, or the Restraining Excessive Seizure of Property through the Exploitation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Tools Act, codifies policy changes enacted by the IRS and Justice Department in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
The agencies each announced they would no longer pursue structuring cases unless the money was connected to other wrongdoing.
This might be one rare case where Big Government is forced to get out of the way of the citizens its crushing.