House Approves IRS Civil Asset Forfeiture Bill

The House approved the bipartisan Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Bill (HR 1843) by voice vote on September 5. If enacted, the bill would limit the IRS’s authority in conducting civil asset seizure and forfeiture relating to structuring transactions under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

In the 114th Congress, an earlier version of the RESPECT Bill (HR 5523) was unanimously approved in the House by a 415-to-0 vote but never came before the Senate. House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., reintroduced the bill earlier in 2017 (TAXDAY, 2017/04/04, C.2). The House Ways and Means Committee approved the bill by voice vote in a July 13 markup (TAXDAY, 2017/07/17, C.2).

The bill’s passage in the House in 2016 followed a May 25 hearing that examined the IRS’s former civil asset forfeiture procedure. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified at the hearing that the Service’s Criminal Investigations Division no longer pursues the seizure and forfeiture of funds associated solely with structuring occurring from a legal source. The measure would codify the IRS’s current policy.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

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