Asset Seizures of Property by the IRS confuses many taxpayers in regards to In Rem Jurisdiction and In Quasi Rem Jurisdiction. In other words, how does the IRS obtain the right to seize property and how does it gain jurisdiction over a person’s personal property? How can the Internal Revenue Service seize and liquidate your property, even your home (although this is rarely done), in order to cover a delinquent tax debt? The Tax Resolution Institute wants to help the nonprofessional understand a little.

 In Rem Jurisdiction, In Quasi Rem Jurisdiction, Internal Revenue Service

IRS Jurisdiction & Asset Seizures

To break it down linguistically, jurisdiction = juris + diction = oath + spoken = a spoken oath. Jurisdiction is a function of constitution and state. As American citizens, we have taken an oath to follow the constitution and the statutes brought into law by our elected officials. In a sense, the act of voting is taking an oath to obey the laws of the federal government. As a functioning body of the federal government, the Internal Revenue Service has the right of jurisdiction in order to collect delinquent tax debts. Such jurisdiction extends to both In Rem Jurisdiction and In Quasi Rem Jurisdiction that covers asset seizures.

The Oath Implied By Filling Out A W4 Form

To be more direct about the notion of an oath, the act of signing and filling out any federal tax form is considered a kind of oath. For a direct example from an IRS document, just look at the voluntary withholding agreement from a W4: “An employee and his employer may enter into an agreement under section 3402(b) to provide for the withholding of income tax upon payments. . . . The furnishing of such Form W-4 shall constitute a request for withholding.”

Since it is by request, the filling out of such a document from a legal perspective automatically gives the IRS jurisdiction over a taxpayer. Beyond this example, such a voluntary choice of IRS jurisdiction in a multitude of forms has been confirmed by the courts. A perfect example is the United States v. Flora, 362 US 145 (1958), “Our system of taxation is based on voluntary assessment and payment, not upon distraint.” But voluntary is a matter of opinion, yet useless to argue in court when it comes to income tax debts. The jurisdiction of the IRS to collect delinquent income tax debts by a variety of punitive measures is no longer in question.

IRS Asset Seizures Jurisdiction

How does the jurisdiction over an individual shift to jurisdiction over an individual’s property. Wikipedia explains the shift well in their description of In Rem Jurisdiction: “In rem (Latin, power about or against “the thing”) is a legal term describing the power a court may exercise over property or a “status” against a person over whom the court does not have “in personam jurisdiction“. Jurisdiction in rem assumes the property or status is the primary object of the action, rather than personal liabilities not necessarily associated with the property (quasi in rem jurisdiction).”

As tax resolution professionals, the tax attorneys and certified public accountants at the Tax Resolution Institute believe in doing everything in our legal power to help a client avoid the seizure of property. When a tax discharged property is seized by the IRS, it  is an abuse of the law. If you are a tax professional or an attorney with a client experiencing serious tax problems or if you are a potential client with the IRS breathing down your neck, the first step you should take is contacting the Tax Resolution Institute for a free consultation. We have the experience and the particular expertise you need to solve such problems. Please call (818) 704-1443 for help with a delinquent tax problem that is leading to IRS collection action, including asset seizures.