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Center for
Freedom and Prosperity
 P.O. Box 10882
Alexandria, Virginia 22310-9998
Phone: 202-285-0244
Fax: 208-728-9639

CFP Press Release,  February 10, 2003

For Immediate Release
Monday, February 10, 2003

Study Finds that the IRS is Undermining Congressional
Intent and Subverting Rule-of-Law:
Congress Designed Law to Attract Capital to the U.S. Economy

February 10, 2003 (Washington) The Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation today released a study using information from the Congressional Record, the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Ways & Means Committee dating back to 1921 to illustrate how the Internal Revenue Service is undermining the rule-of-law by pursuing a regulation that would require U.S. financial institutions to report bank deposit interest paid to certain nonresident aliens.  Andrew F. Quinlan, President of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, remarked, "This new study demonstrates that there is no legal basis for the proposed IRS regulation on reporting nonresident bank deposit interest." Quinlan added, "More than 50 Senators and Congressman are on record against the proposed rule, and they are joined by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Small Business Administration, the American Bankers Association and the Conference on State Bank Supervisors."

The report, entitled "Who Writes the Law: Congress or the IRS?," is written by Heritage Foundation tax expert Daniel J. Mitchell.

Opposition to the IRS regulation largely has revolved around economic issues, particularly the likely damage to financial markets caused by capital flight. This is a very legitimate concern, but that debate overshadows another important issue: Is the IRS overstepping its authority and abusing the regulatory process by proposing a regulation that is fundamentally inconsistent with the law? The answer is yes, Mitchell writes: "Congress clearly wanted to attract capital to the U.S. economy when it chose not to tax bank deposit interest paid to nonresident aliens. Helping other nations tax that income which is the explicit goal of the IRS regulation unambiguously would thwart this goal and therefore undermine congressional intent. To help protect the rule-of-law, the regulation should be withdrawn."

According to the author, "The IRS can recommend changes in the law, but they have no right to unilaterally change government policy." Mitchell also said, "The IRS is putting ideology above the law. This regulation is a gross abuse of the rule-making process. It is not surprising that the Clinton Administration, with its cavalier attitude toward justice, first proposed this initiative. What is a surprise, by contrast, is that the Bush Treasury Department has refused to withdraw the regulation. Hopefully the new Treasury Secretary, John Snow, will be less susceptible to manipulation than his predecessor."

Veronique de Rugy of the Cato Institute added, "This regulation is a bad idea because it will cause capital to flee the U.S. economy. Federal Reserve data, for instance, show that more than $40 billion was taken out of savings accounts in the first quarter of 2001 after the Clinton Administration first unveiled the proposed regulation. One can only imagine what will happen if the regulation is actually implemented." Ms. de Rugy added, "The fact that this regulation also flouts existing law adds insult to injury."

Copies of the Study can be found on CFP Foundation's web page:

For more Infomation -- CFP's Dedicated IRS Interest Reporting Web Page:

For additional comments:

Andrew Quinlan can be reached at 202-285-0244,
Dan Mitchell can be reached at 202-608-6224,
Veronique de Rugy can be reached at 202-842-0200,


The Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy, research, and educational organization operating under Section 501(C)(3). The CFP Foundation is the research and educational affiliate of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity (CFP) and can be reached by calling 202-285-0244 or visiting our web site at

Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation
P.O. Box 10882, Alexandria, Virginia 22310
Phone: 202-285-0244

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