House passes Collins’ bill to stop IRS abuse
WASHINGTON—The House today unanimously passed Rep. Doug Collins’ (R-Ga.) Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act as part of H.R. 1957, the Taxpayer First Act.
“By reforming federal forfeiture laws to prevent civil asset forfeiture abuse, the RESPECT Act will protect hardworking individuals from IRS overreach and ensure all American citizens are afforded the due process guaranteed by our Constitution,” said Collins. “I’d like to thank Rep. John Lewis and Rep. Mike Kelly for their ongoing commitment to passing this legislation and protecting innocent Americans from IRS abuse.”
Collins and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) reintroduced the Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act in February 2019 to protect innocent individuals and small business owners from IRS abuse and ensure their assets are not wrongly seized under civil asset forfeiture policies.
The RESPECT Act was inspired in part by Andrew Clyde, a U.S. Navy veteran, owner of Clyde Armory, and resident of Georgia’s Ninth District. In April of 2013, the IRS seized nearly $950,000 from Clyde’s bank account without charging him with any crime, simply because he was regularly depositing several thousand dollars of cash from his business.
This legislation will rein in IRS overreach and protect law-abiding citizens by accomplishing the following:
- Requires prosecutors demonstrate probable cause that seized funds are either illegally earned or structured to conceal illegal activity before they proceed with a forfeiture case.
- Codifies an IRS policy change from October 2014 to limit forfeiture for currency “structuring” to cases where funds in question are derived from an illegal source or used to conceal illegal activity.
- Allows property owners to challenge a seizure at a prompt, post-seizure hearing, rather than waiting months or even years to present their case to a judge.