Authority to Pay State and Local Taxes on Property After Entry of an Order of Forfeiture: Memorandum for Cary H. Copeland, Director and Chief Counsel, Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture, and James Knapp, Deputy Director, Asset Forfeiture Office, Criminal Division [December 9, 1993]   [open pdf - 42KB]

"You have requested advice on two matters: a proposed Directive from the Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture ('Directive') that would authorize payment of state and local taxes on some civilly forfeited property for which the court had notice of a state or local tax claim before the court entered an order of forfeiture, and a draft Memorandum from the Asset Forfeiture Office, Criminal Division, to the Attorney General ('AG Memo') concluding that the Attorney General may pay state and local taxes on criminally forfeited property (and proposing an Attorney General Order to delegate such authority to the Director of the Asset Forfeiture Office). The proposed Directive and the draft AG Memo both raise the question of the Attorney General's discretionary authority to pay taxes, for the period from the offense giving rise to forfeiture to the entry of an order of forfeiture, on property for which a court has already entered an order of forfeiture. […] We now conclude that payment of taxes on civilly forfeited property on the terms set forth in the proposed Directive would not be inconsistent with the civil forfeiture statute and would not exceed the Attorney General's equitable discretion under the civil forfeiture laws. We also conclude that payment of taxes on criminally forfeited property in the circumstances apparently envisioned by the draft AG Memo would not be unlawful under the criminal forfeiture laws or beyond the Attorney General's equitable, discretionary authority under such laws. In addition, we describe revisions to the draft AG Memo necessary to assure accuracy in its description of OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] advice."

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