The United States has a $2.8 trillion backlog of overdue taxes and fees, and millions of Americans who are eligible for tax breaks or other government benefits don’t pay them.
The IRS is not only the main federal agency collecting those unpaid taxes and penalties, but it also provides benefits to the private sector that benefit some Americans, too.
For years, it has been hard to tell if an individual taxpayer is eligible for benefits, especially if that individual works outside the United States.
Some tax lawyers, however, say the IRS is often willing to take the position that those who are ineligible for government benefits should be considered “unlawful residents” and face criminal charges, even if they are not U.K. citizens or permanent residents.
“The IRS is more likely to say you are not in the United Kingdom,” said Charles Gullickson, who has advised a number of U.N. agencies, including the World Health Organization, on tax matters.
“If they say you’re not in this country, then you don’t have to pay taxes.”
Tax lawyers said it was easy to get a false bill from the IRS, and that the agency has a tendency to ignore those who don’t want to pay.
If an individual refuses to pay, or pays late, the IRS can seize money or send the individual to jail for up to three years.
“It’s a very easy thing for the IRS to say, ‘Oh, you’re here illegally, so you can’t pay,'” said Scott Johnson, who practices tax law at Jones Day.
The IRS does not charge fees or fines for non-payment, but can take action against individuals who have been found to be “unwilling or unable to pay” on taxes, and can take the person to court.
“If you’re caught, you can be fined $2,000 or arrested and jailed,” Johnson said.
“There’s nothing you can do about it.
You’re in court, and they can take you to jail,” he added.
The case of Joseph O. Miller Jr., who is eligible to receive a $100,000 tax break under a rule in the House, illustrates a key difference between the way the IRS handles people who are not citizens or legal residents.
Miller, an accountant and former employee of an investment bank, owes $20,000 in back taxes on his 2004 home, a $10,000 loan from a former bank and several other unpaid bills.
The House rule allows Miller to collect $50,000.
The agency can also take his case to court, though it would likely be expensive.
The government can take only about $1,000 out of his pocket.
In an email to The Associated Press, the agency’s Public Affairs Office, which handles public relations, declined to answer questions about whether Miller was in the wrong.
The tax law, known as Section 4103, requires the IRS or a federal court to enforce Section 4303, which prohibits “unauthorized persons from engaging in certain activities in the territories, without being identified or being required to surrender their identity documents.”
The rule also prohibits people from engaging “in a course of conduct or activity which would be unlawful in the territory to which they are temporarily or temporarily returning.”
The IRS did not respond to a request for comment on Miller’s case.
Miller is one of several Americans who were recently ordered to pay back their taxes and court fees.
In August, he was arrested in Georgia on a warrant charging him with filing false income tax returns.
He was arrested after a traffic stop on Interstate 95, where he was being searched.
Miller has filed a lawsuit against the IRS alleging that the IRS violated his constitutional rights by seizing his money, but the IRS said in court filings that Miller has filed the suit on his own behalf.
He is seeking $1.3 million in back tax and other costs.
The agency has not commented on the lawsuit or its decision to not charge Miller.
Miller’s attorney, David L. Dorn, said Miller’s legal team is considering other options.
“We’re not sure what the outcome will be,” he said.
“It’s too soon to say anything.”
Lori O. Toth, who teaches tax law and policy at Georgetown University, said the case of Miller shows how difficult it can be to get an individual to pay his taxes.
“These are very serious crimes,” Toth said.
Toths said she has seen some people pay their taxes without a problem, but she said the IRS has to do more to prevent fraud, not just take the money away from individuals who are in compliance with the rules.
Toth said the situation is similar to how it is with U. S. citizens and legal residents who do not want to be subject to arrest for nonpayment.
“I have clients who pay