Imagine getting ready to go on vacation. As the TSA agent scans your ID, suddenly a police officer or Homeland Security special agent detains you. You are told you can’t leave the United States because you owe taxes.
If you think that sounds farfetched, read the newly revised section of the Internal Revenue Manual on Writs of Ne Exeat Republica. As a libertarian, these new enforcement powers make me cringe. Unfortunately, it’s the law.
The Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) is the IRS’ internal procedures manual. The power to detain Americans wishing to leave the U.S. was updated on December 4, 2013. This is what it says:
Writ Ne Exeat Republica
- Writ Ne Exeat Republica is another action authorized by IRC §7402(a) . Writ Ne Exeat Republica is the appropriate suit action when the taxpayer:
- is about to leave the U.S.,
- is unlikely to return to the U.S., and
- has conveyed or concealed property so that the property may be taken out of the U.S.
- Writ Ne Exeat Republica is usually filed in conjunction with some other civil action against the taxpayer such as a Suit to Foreclose the Notice of Federal Tax Lien, a Repatriation Order, or a Summons Enforcement.
- Consider these factors when determining whether or not to file a Writ Ne Exeat Republica:
- taxpayer has a sizeable liability,
- taxpayer has transferred, or is in the process of transferring, substantially all of his assets to a location outside the United States,
- the tax liability is valid,
- taxpayer established residency outside the United States or intends to do so,
- taxpayer’s assets cannot be reached absent the issuance of the writ.
- Develop a request for a Writ Ne Exeat Republica, as applicable.
- Consult Area Counsel prior to considering a Writ Ne Exeat Republica. Area Counsel will coordinate as necessary with the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (International).