December 17, 2014

FASTER, PLEASE: The Bipartisan Plan To End IRS Stealing.

For years, the Internal Revenue Service has been stealing taxpayer assets from small businesses — not for breaking tax law, but for making legitimate bank deposits under $10,000. It’s one form of the increasingly well-known practice called “civil asset forfeiture.”

The IRS has the power to seize small cash deposits under $10,000. These deposits seem suspicious because cash deposits over $10,000 trigger a bank report to authorities. Terrorists, drug dealers, and money launderers all make cash deposits under $10,000 to avoid triggering the bank report. The illicit practice is called “structuring.”

The problem is that many small businesses accept cash payments and make large deposits that happen to fall under $10,000.

Sadly, this attempt to crack down on terrorist funding is used by the IRS to abuse small businesses. In October, the New York Times reported on the story of Carole Hinders, a small business owner who had over $30,000 seized by the IRS. The IRS does not even need to charge someone with a crime to seize assets under an alleged structuring scheme.

Thankfully, a bipartisan bill has been introduced in Congress that would end the practice.

On December 10, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Ranking Member Sander Levin, D-Mich., introduced the Taxpayer Protections Against Abusive Seizures Act.

Well, it’s worth trying before going all the way to tar and feathers.

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