Daily Israel Report

Uncle Sam Says Pay Up or Don’t Leave for Israel

Moving to Israel? A proposed Congressional bill, if passed into law, would require you to pay back taxes before boarding the plane.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 4/16/2012, 3:39 PM

An Aliyah flight (Flash 90)
An Aliyah flight (Flash 90)
An Aliyah flight (Flash 90)

Moving to Israel? A proposed Congressional bill, if passed into law, would require you to pay back taxes before boarding the plane.

The bill concerns aid for federal highways but carries an unrelated amendment sponsored by Nevada Democrat Sen. Harry Reid that would allow the State Department to deny passports for anyone owing more than $50,000 in taxes.

He tacked on the amendment by hitching a ride on a clause in the bill that authorizes federal aid for highways, road safety programs “and for other purposes.”

“It’s a scary thought that our congressional representatives want to give the IRS the power to detain U.S. citizens over taxes, which could very well be in dispute,” constitutional attorney Angel Reyes told Fox Business News.

The amendment would not stop anyone from leaving the country if the debt is arranged to be paid in an acceptable way or if there are “humanitarian” concerns, but the Internal Revenue Service is not required to file a formal charge of tax evasion in order for the State Department to take action against the taxpayer.

“It takes away your right to enter or exit the country based upon a non-judicial IRS determination that you owe taxes,” Reyes added.

With a sluggish economy, thousands and probably tens of thousands of Americans owe back taxes of more than $50,000. “There are so many people that fall into that situation, and I think that’s too invasive," Fox quoted  financial adviser Clark Hodges saying.

The Senate has passed the bill by a large majority, but it may face a roadblock in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The original bill was introduced by California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer, who said her proposal would create millions of jobs. She did not comment on the amendment attached by Sen. Reid.