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On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass H.R. 5523, the Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers-RESPECT Act, to end the Internal Revenue Service’s abuse of asset forfeiture in structuring cases. Americans for Tax Reforms applauds Congress for acting efficiently against these violations.

Specifically, the bill prohibits the IRS from seizing funds from property owners who allegedly committed structuring violations unless the agency can prove that the money was used in criminal activity.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.) and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) named the legislation for Andrew Clyde, Jeffery, Richard, and Mitch Hirsch, and Randy Sowers. These American small business owners were wrongfully persecuted by the IRS under the structuring rule.

In May 2016, Roskam held a hearing for Protecting Small Businesses from IRS Abuse, where a bipartisan coalition joined to denounce the IRS and the Justice Department’s actions that seized the property of law-abiding Americans. Facing serious backlash from Congress, the IRS agreed in June 2016 to give some or all of the money back to those who it had seized assets on structuring accusations.

“Structuring” refers to the phenomenon that allows the IRS to seize funds from bank accounts when authorities suspect that account deposits are designed to avoid reporting laws.

About the bill, Roskam noted,

“Today we took a big step toward delivering justice for victims of IRS abuse. It’s clear to everyone involved that the IRS and DOJ abused their authority and took money from people who did nothing wrong. With today’s legislation, we’re making sure they can never do it again. I want to thank the Clyde, Hirsch, Sowers, and Taylor families for their bravery and willingness to share their stories in the hopes of preventing future injustice. I appreciate the support of Ranking Member John Lewis and Congressman Joe Crowley on this bipartisan bill. I’m glad we can finally put this ugly chapter to rest.”

Americans for Tax Reform applauds Congress for taking unanimous action against the blatant violation of taxpayer rights by the IRS.