32.3 No Retroactive Regulations


Proposed agency regulations shall have no effect until finally approved.

Proposed Language:

Except to correct mistakes in regulations which impose greater restrictions on the People than were intended, proposed regulations made by any agency of the United States shall have no effect for any purpose whatsoever until they are adopted, and then their effect shall be prospective.


By proposed Amendment 30.2, we have suggested that the current authority of Congress to pass retroactive laws be limited to Bills passed by a two thirds vote of both Houses. We also believe agencies should not be allowed to pass retroactive regulations under any circumstances except to correct mistakes in regulations that impose greater restrictions on the People than were intended.

Since most people do their planning on a yearly basis, it is fair that they be able to know in advance what the laws will be for a particular year, most especially tax laws that have such a significant influence on economic planning. It stands to reason that, if Congress wants to change the income tax laws in a particular year, it should not make those laws effective until the first of the following year. Yet, the Congress in enacting general revenue statutes has almost without exception given such laws an effective date prior to the date of enactment. The Supreme Court has authorized this practice holding that it does not violate due process if reasonable. U.S. v. Darusmont, 449 U.S. 292 (1981). Our lives and decisions should not be made to depend on whether judges think retroactive tax laws are reasonable. The Supreme Court has also held that treasury regulations may be retroactively applied unless doing so constitutes an abuse of discretion. Automobile Club of Michigan v. Commissioner, 353 U.S. 180, 184 (1957).