Jewish World Review April 18, 2001 / 25 Nissan, 5761
Tax Tales by A. J. Cook
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- A CAR sitting in the driveway is fair game for the Internal Revenue Service to seize.
This came as a surprise to Richard Rogers. He thought grabbing his cars without a warrant violated his constitutional rights.
Two IRS agents and a police sergeant went to Rogers's home to seize two vehicles parked in the driveway of his Northborough, Mass., home. He protested but finally gave the keys to the police officer, who was armed.
Two days later, Rogers went to the police station to file a stolen-vehicle report. But the police refused to accept it.
He then filed suit against the IRS collection officers and the police. The two issues were unreasonable seizure and denial of due process.
Were the cars in his driveway protected from seizure? No, said the court, because the vehicles were visible from the street. What a person exposes to the public has no constitutional protection. Had the cars been in a closed garage, they would have been protected, and the IRS would have needed a warrant.
Even if exposed, there are some safeguards. The agency must follow these procedures before seizing property: It must send a tax deficiency notice, wait 90 days for the taxpayer to appeal, assess the tax, send a payment demand notice and send an intent-to-levy notice.
The second part of the case involved denial of due process. Rogers said
the police officers violated his constitutional right to due process by
refusing to accept his stolen vehicle report. The court summarily dismissed
this issue, saying the vehicles weren't
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