Congress may give IRS power to revoke passports (Updated)

This story is not new, but Alex Newman has written an interesting article about why it is wrong for Congress to give this power to the IRS:

Still, despite the travel “exceptions,” experts say the whole scheme is unconstitutional and represents a blatant violation of due process rights. “It takes away your right to enter or exit the country based upon a non-judicial IRS determination that you owe taxes,” constitutional attorney Angel Reyes explained to 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.”

A financial expert also told Fox that the unconstitutional provision would apply to an alarmingly high number of people — especially in the wake of the economic crisis. And in the coming years, as jobs continue to evaporate and the value of the dollar continues to sink, more and more people will likely be affected by the travel ban.

IRS Would Revoke Passports for Alleged Tax Debt Under Bill

Thatisme has also found the following article:

No Taxes, No Travel: Why the IRS Wants the Right to Seize Your Passport



28 thoughts on “Congress may give IRS power to revoke passports (Updated)

  1. So, between people locked-up for pointless drug offences and the new debtor’s prisons that are obviously just around the corner, is there going to be anyone left in the U.S. to do the bidding of the 1%?

  2. Glad this is getting attention at least in one Magazine. Surely their are some civil libertarians like the ACLU that are voicing concern over this? Now just to find them speaking out in public…

    BTW, this speech by Glenn Greenwald in Ottawa might interest some of you Canadians…

  3. There are other ways to leave the US without a passport. For example several states offer an Enhanced Drivers License. Additionally there is no statutory requirement in Canada for US citizens to enter without anything more than a basic drivers license. Its getting back without a passport or EDL which is the problem.

  4. @Tim As a US citizen you *must* be admitted to the US. (‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.’)

    So I don’t see what stops a USC with a suspended passport from leaving at a road crossing to Canada or Mexico with a driver’s licence and re-entering with a passport. It’s international air travel that would create problems.

  5. @A broken man

    I was also thinking along the lines of of a depart resident alien from the US lets so from Europe traveling who didn’t file their sailing permit crossing the land border with Canada and flying out of Pearson on a flight to Europe.

    Additionally Canadians can still travel by air with just a drivers license to several countries in the Carribean such as Bermuda and the Bahamas. My hope is as land border loopholes become more apparent to the US they will be forced to come to bargaining table with Canada. What the US I suspect would like to do is impose exit checks at all land borders with Canada however the cost and the logistics would simply be extroadinary thus they are forced to rely on Canada to do entry checks for people departing the US.

  6. @John…
    American sure does keep good company! Taking the best ideas from the worst countries. That is the American way!

  7. I don’t believe that there is a consitutional right to either leave or enter the U.S. Therefore, I fear that this is legal. What amazes me is that so few people in the U.S. are concerned about the direction the country has moved.

    Interestingly the Canadian Charter has S. 6 which guarantees a citizen the right to enter and leave Canada. Today April 17 is the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter. Also, a good to rejoice in the fact that we don’t live in the U.S.

    Renunciation of U.S. citizenship is the best investment that you can make in you and your family’s future.

  8. Based on pass immigration there are probably about 50 million Americans eligable for second passports. If you have a parent or grandparent born in Europe you stand a reasonable chance of securing a good waiver-free passport.

    I’ve had a European passport for since the 1980s. Only a fool would leave their right to travel up to Carl Levin and the other idiots that he counts as associates.

  9. This one is indeed getting some attention – I have had several homelanders send me information about it and, boy, did it make them mad. I guess when it’s your own pigeon being plucked you sit up and take notice. 🙂

    Oh, the irony….

  10. The ‘lords’ and ‘masters’ grant or deny us travel passes, and grant or deny us the ability to change our status – via US citizenship.

    Basically, we haven’t left serfdom, peonage and indentured servitude behind us – the ‘lord/s’ of the manor (Congress) give or deny us the right to travel via the US – while at the same time forcing us to use only the US passport to enter the US. We can be separated from seeing our families there. The lords reserve the right to enact restrictions on what we do with our bodies, the labour of those bodies, and the goods(assets) we produce with that labour – outside the US – forever. The status does not end with our death – the same goods and assets we report all our lives – are then reported on again – via our estates. We are to keep abreast of, and follow closely, the lord and master’s laws – from remote locations abroad – even those who – born in a non-English speaking country, or with print or intellectual disabilities, or limited education and means, may not have the ability to do that.

    The IRS manual – written in technical language that most people are illiterate in – dictates how we will be governed remotely from abroad, and we must be ready at all times to respond if they rule – even retroactively – on any matter. Any significant dispute requires an expensive intermediary – and can be lengthy – and so justice would be unaffordable to most. For example: an RRSP without the proper form filed at the proper time – requires a special ruling letter – at a cost of about 2000.

    The lords and masters reserve the right to enumerate and seize the assets we have produced with our own labour – or in the case of joint, spousal, children’s or non-personal accounts – through us, gain knowledge about, and fine or seize the assets and fruits of the labour of other non-US individuals outside the US. (Under FATCA – if a US ‘person’ is associated with a non-personal account actually belonging to a non-US citizen – what happens in a withholding?). The lords and masters reserve the right to count and potentially seize the same asset over and over again – the same account – like an RRSP is scrutinized repeatedly – though it hasn’t changed and cannot be accessed. The same RRSP – could potentially be held for 45 plus years before being eligible to access – reported and scrutinized, and subject to penalties – more than 45 times via FBARs and FATCA – over a lifetime. More in the case of TFSAs or other savings with additional reporting obligations.

    If we make an error on the FBARs or FATCA or myriad of other asset reporting – no matter how small, or do not report, the penalties – which the IRS acknowledges can greatly exceed the value of the legal accounts – can lead us into ‘debt bondage’ whereupon we may need to sell or mortgage our homes, or seek extra work to pay off the penalties as they assess them.
    As the same entirely legal, post-tax asset can be subjected to multiple draconian penalties – to undertake to pay them off would take a lifetime.

    The ‘lords’ and ‘masters’ enact laws that control our bodies, labour, actions and product – from ‘abroad’ without our consent. We can only invest the fruits of our legal labour as they direct.

    Our children and grandchildren are born into the same servitude. without their consent, and we cannot protect them by renouncing for them. There is nothing we can do to save them from the same indenture.

    We can buy our way out (manumission) by complying for 5 years – and by asking abjectly for permission – and a fee – be allowed to be set free.

    Or, if we don’t comply for 5 years, have too many assets, or don’t get their consent to change our status – they will impose an ‘exit tax’ – and thereby pay off what they assess our labour and goods to be worth – in lieu of the rest of the lifetime of potential production that we take with us. In spite of that labour and goods being produced entirely in another country.

    If we are subject to the exit tax, we are also ‘shamed’ publicly – and names entered onto an official list. The scarlet letter.

    I look forward to a kind of emancipation day with all my heart. I do not enjoy security of my person and labour anymore. As in Canada: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” Security of the person in section 7 consists of rights to privacy of the body and its health[3] and of the right protecting the “psychological integrity” of an individual. That is, the right protects against significant government-inflicted harm (stress) to the mental state of the individual. (Blencoe v. B.C. (Human Rights Commission), 2000)

    I do not enjoy peace of mind anymore. And as a low wage earner – dependent on another for my upkeep – now my non-US spouse is also indentured. I tried to do the drudgery – but find it too complex – and endure anxiety attacks, intrusive thoughts, and depression – that make it hard to cope.
    And so our savings are going into complying – so that I can be free.

    My family endured the Great Depression, and survived slavery. Who knew that bringing us to live in another country would lead us into FATCA and the current state of things for US ‘persons’ abroad – subject to arbitrary and punitive remote control
    of our person and labour.

  11. @Badger – that’s a very heartfelt and detailed portrait of the 21st century bondage we’re facing as long as we remain associated with the U.S. The founding fathers must be spinning in their graves – so much hypocrisy to go around.

    I honestly see no hope whatsoever for America – it is now in a slow, empire’s-end death-spiral, well on its way to becoming the world’s biggest, most corrupt failed-state in human history. That is what American exceptionalism will mean in this decade.

    In a way, we are lucky to be going through this now, a few years before things really start to fall apart. We have the advantage of foresight – of literally being able to predict the dystopian future that is a certainty. Our homeland brothers and sisters will be ever so envious that we got out when we still could, just like the handful of Jews, East Germans and Soviet bloc refugees that came before us. For most Americans, however, it’s Eyes Wide Shut – for them it will be far too little, too late.

  12. @Badger
    Your post, as Deckard said, is so heartfelt. I ask myself, probably for the 1000th time since all of this started, how did this all happen? When did it start? And why? It has played havoc with my health, and my heart. Certainly has wrecked havoc on any kind thoughts I may have still held toward my country of birth. It is just so unbelieveably sad. Not a day goes by that I am not thinking of this. It is difficult to find joy in my life because of it.

    I do find myself again and again going back to 9/11. I could most definitely be wrong about this; but, I believe that was the ‘beginning of the end’ so to speak. I think both America and Americans were changed forever by that day. That is why I believe the terrorists won. America now feels that injustice is ‘allowable’ if it protects the homeland.

  13. Thanks so much, badger, Deckard and tiger, All. Not much more to express on why we no longer respect, trust, have faith in the land of our birth — for ourselves / for our children (including the one I am not given the right to renounce on his behalf).

    It was so heartening to see that Mr. Mopsick posted:

    APRIL 18, 2012 AT 11:57 AM
    @all: You are very welcome!. The more I see of the injustice of citizen-based taxation, the more I realize this law cannot be allowed to stand!!
    30 Year IRS Vet

  14. I appreciate the fellow feeling, Deckard and tiger, calgary411 and All. Some days it just gets to be overwhelming, and the nights are almost worse. Thank you for the venue and the support.

  15. Pingback: No one can serve two tax masters | The Isaac Brock Society

  16. badger & Deckard1138 & tiger –

    Good stuff, hear my applause. And consider this postscript on “When did it start?”

    My locus classicus is Revelation 13. For more than one Brocker, the beastly nature of the United States stood exposed in the Vietnam War. Some see FATCA as the worst US imperialism since Philippines in 1899 —  A key fact of American history is slavery and its aftermath and offshored continuations.

    We all rely so much on our personal experiences and direct memories. 9/11 is a clear recent turning point toward increased nastiness.

    To try to project backward to some point where there was a “good” United States is a useless exercise in mythologization.

    Ask descendants of the remnants of the five nations that trod the trail of tears to Oklahoma when the horror started for them, while a colonialist nation used genocide and ecocide to “clear the wilderness.”

  17. @usxcanada – Very good points indeed. Stuck in a time warp, way too many Americans are fixated on just one decade as being their golden age – the 1950’s – but even that is a myth. As for your last point, I visited Wounded Knee when I was ten, and since then I’ve never forgotten that there are so many sins America hasn’t even begun to atone for.

  18. usxcanada
    April 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm
    re:”To try to project backward to some point where there was a “good” United States is a useless exercise in mythologization.

    Ask descendants of the remnants of the five nations that trod the trail of tears to Oklahoma when the horror started for them, while a colonialist nation used genocide and ecocide to “clear the wilderness.” ”

    Yes you’re right. The more I find out about history in general, the more horrified I am.

  19. @all, We have several places where the passport revocation is discussed, so I’m adding this link here as well:
    Kelly Phillips Erb, Contributor
    4/23/2012 @ 8:35AM |1,072 views
    “Mammoth Bill Makes IRS Play Border Control”
    “So let me summarize for you: if the IRS liens or levies you, the Department of State can choose to restrict your right to travel without a judicial hearing. To be clear, these aren’t cases of U.S. citizens who have been found to have committed a crime or have been proven to owe taxes. There’s no day in court. There’s no opportunity to argue a case or prove that there has been a mistake. In other words, it gives the IRS the authority to determine your future travel plans. No due process for you.

    Ah, that pesky due process. Generally, the taking or denial of a passport is a judicial matter when there is a risk of a person trying to flee the country. Not so here.”

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