On Friday, the public interest law firm New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) filed an opening brief in the cryptocurrency case of James Harper v. Charles P. Rettig. The NCLA argues that Harper’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment constitutional rights were violated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The U.S. tax agency is accused of obtaining Harper’s information from crypto asset exchanges without valid subpoenas or statutory limitations.
IRS Accused of Accessing American Citizens’ Private Information Without Following Statutory Limitations on Power to Issue Subpoenas
The NCLA has revealed it filed an opening brief in the case James Harper v. Charles P. Rettig in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The NCLA is a nonpartisan nonprofit civil rights entity and public interest law firm that aims to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the government.
The case involves a man named James Harper who has brought litigation against the IRS, the 49th commissioner of the U.S. tax agency Charles Rettig, and 10 “John Doe IRS agents.” The NCLA and Harper argue that the IRS took Harper’s financial information without “reasonable suspicion and without a judicial warrant.”
“Harper has plausibly pled that [the] IRS violated his constitutional and statutory rights,” the civil rights organization’s opening brief details.
It all started in 2019 when the IRS sent Harper a letter stating that he did not “properly report” his “transactions involving virtual currency.” The IRS also published a press release that summer that revealed 10,000 American cryptocurrency owners received a letter from the tax agency. The letters were sent to taxpayers who have “participated in virtual currency transactions or otherwise did not report past transactions properly,” the IRS noted.
“Taxpayers should take these letters very seriously,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig emphasized in the press release.