In yet another slash at American liberty, there is a new bill making its way through Congress which could allow the federal government to prevent Americans who owe back taxes from leaving the country.
The provision is part of Senate Bill 1813, which was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in November and passed by the Senate on March 14 “to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.”
Those “other purposes” include a little-known amendment recently introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid 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.”
A US citizen generally has the right to have a passport and to travel freely. It’s not clear that the inability to pay his tax bills can be used to deny him this right.
The provision does make exceptions if the debt “is being paid in a timely manner” or “in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons,” it DOES NOT require that a person be charged with tax evasion before having their passport revoked — only that the IRS has filed a notice of lien or levy against them.
While on the surface it may appear as though the government is merely trying to find a new means of collecting revenue, perhaps they are planning ahead to prevent an exodus? Surely there must be constitutional issues here… Oh that’s right, they don’t worry about the Constitution in Washington?
While I do not endorse the non-payment of legally required taxes, I am very skeptical of any government actions taken which apparently undermine the U.S. Constitution and the rights granted within.