We know it's been a busy week. That's why we wanted to make sure you didn't miss this big news in our ongoing efforts to rein in the IRS.
On Wednesday, the agency informed us that it will finally give 700 Americans whose assets it improperly seized under federal forfeiture laws the opportunity to get their money back. This comes in response to an unrelenting oversight investigation led by the Ways and Means Committee over the past two years, and it’s a big win for hundreds of hardworking taxpayers.
Federal civil forfeiture law was designed to help catch human traffickers, drug dealers, and other criminals attempting to launder money by allowing law enforcement to immediately seize an individual’s assets on suspicion of wrongdoing.
However, the IRS has used this tool against hundreds of innocent small business owners—whose assets are seized without any advance notice or due process. Lives are turned upside down and businesses are forced to shutter literally overnight. Faced with a costly legal battle against the U.S. government, most victims opt to settle with the IRS—some to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.That’s exactly what happened to Randy Sowers, a Maryland dairy farmer who had nearly $300,000 seized by the IRS. After settling with the government, the Sowers were still out $29,500.
House oversight efforts shined a bright spotlight on this unjust practice, and this week justice was delivered. Not only will victims be able to recoup their losses, but the IRS is reforming this practice to help prevent innocent Americans from being targeted in the future.
Separately, the House also passed legislation this week banning the IRS from collecting donor information from non-profit organizations. This bill will remove another dangerous tool for intimidation from an agency with a horrid track record of targeting Americans for their personal beliefs.
We are pleased with the progress made this Congress to hold the IRS accountable, but we still have more work to do to ensure all Americans are treated equally and fairly by their government.