Leah Barkoukis

So much for forgiving and forgetting—Uncle Sam is getting even.

In 2011, Congress quietly passed legislation that lifted the 10-year statute of limitations on money owed to the government. In other words, the government has the authority to collect decades-old debts.

Via Fox News:

Some 400,000 Americans may see their tax refund checks grabbed by the government after Congress quietly lifted the 10-year statute of limitations in 2011 on money owed to Uncle Sam.

Now, debts going back decades are considered fair game for the IRS, and the government is coming after the children and grandchildren of the original debtors for the repayment.

In some cases, debts of parents from the early 1960s and 70s are being collected from children.

In many cases, the IRS doesn't even possess the original records of the debts.

“Imagine it,” former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams said on "The Kelly File." Rather than receiving a refund check, “you get a letter from the IRS. And it says, ’40 years ago your parents got a disability payment that we happened to overpay… so now we’re taking it out of your tax refund.”

Megyn Kelly cited a case reported by the Washington Post of a woman named Mary Grice whose father died when she was 4 years old in 1977, leaving her mother with five children. Thirty-seven years later, the Social Security administration is claiming that it overpaid someone in her family, but it isn't sure whom, and is going after Ms. Grice for the alleged debt. Grice is suing.

When Megyn Kelly asked Adams what the chances are of the government dropping the debt against Grice, Adams answered, "Zero."

"This is an administration that loves to suspend laws when they're inconvenient and not enforce certain laws," Adams said. "Let's see if they do it here."

Predictably, Congress and the White House are pointing fingers at each other over who’s responsible for the statute’s repeal.


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography