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House passes a new bill to help protect ‘the little guy’ from the IRS

Earlier this year, Representatives Roskam (R-IL) and Crowley (D-NY) introduced a bill to end unconstitutional civil asset forfeiture, which was approved by the Ways and Means Committee in July. It came at the right time, as by 2014, civil asset forfeiture was stealing more from Americans “legally” than burglars do illegally.

While some civil asset forfeiture is necessary (for instance, seizing the cash of a captured drug dealer), don’t think that giving government license to steal means they won’t act on it. The incentives are designed for the practice to be abused, as asset forfeiture creates an obvious conflict of interest for law-enforcement agencies. Because the proceeds go into their budgets, they have a vested interest in maximizing the use of forfeiture in their jurisdictions.

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Last night, a bill passed in the House to help reduce abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws, appropriately titled the RESPECT Act.

According to The Libertarian Republic:

H.R.1843, or, the Restraining Excessive Seizure of Property through the Exploitation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Tools Act, has now passed into law. It was written to combat a very specific and shockingly serious problem. Many Americans who have run primarily cash businesses have had their bank accounts come under siege, but not by hackers, but by the Internal Revenue Service.

Last year the public started paying attention when a few individual cases of monetary confiscation without legal grounds were picked up by major news outlets. The amounts taken vary as much as the the victims. The similar factor in each case however is that they were robbed without ever being accused of any crime. In fact, the rationale of the IRS is that money they take possession of is being handled in a way that is actually explicitly not illegal.

If you ever deposit over $10,000 in a bank, the IRS is notified so they can investigate whether such a large movement of money was in any way illicit. This power alone might be enough to make a classical liberal’s skin crawl. Shouldn’t anyone be able to do with their money as they please? But in recent years, it has also been risky to move funds in amounts less than $10,000. If the IRS suspected you were trying to avoid their gaze they were given the power, under law, to confiscate your property without even charging you with a crime.

Targets included: a Mexican restaurant owner for $33,000, a dairy farm owner for over $60,000, a convenience store supplier for $400,000, and many more.

Using this method, the IRS has collected $242,000,000 between 2005 and 2012 alone, according to one study.

Bear in mind the $10,000 threshold for cash transactions to be flagged is far outdated, as it’s remained constant since the passing of the Bank Secrecy Act in 1970. $10,000 in 1970 is the equivalent of roughly $65,000 today.

This is, obviously, just one aspect of civil asset forfeiture that this bill will fix, but it’s great news for cash businesses.

[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. He is a co-author of the new book A Paradoxical Alliance: Islam and the Left, and can be found on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]

The post House passes a new bill to help protect ‘the little guy’ from the IRS appeared first on Allen B. West – AllenBWest.com.

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