IRS takes flak over money seizures

IRS takes flak over money seizures 

Posted: 10:12 pm Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

By Jamie Dupree

Lawmakers in both parties used a Congressional hearing to give a stern warning to the head of the IRS on Wednesday, demanding that the tax agency end its practice of seizing huge amounts of money from law-abiding businesses for the simple act of depositing cash in their bank accounts.

“I was never so afraid in my life, not even in combat,” said Andrew Clyde, who runs a gun store in Athens, Georgia, as he described how he felt when two IRS agents showed up at his door, saying they had seized $940,213 from his company’s bank account.

“I trembled when they left,” Clyde said in his testimony.

The agents told Clyde that he had likely committed a felony by making cash deposits of less than $10,000 – that’s the limit set by the feds over which the IRS must be notified – all to help uncover money laundering and other legal activities.

But Clyde – and others who testified – said they had done nothing wrong, and the IRS knew that.

“A felony, how could this be a felony?” Clyde asked. “I was just depositing my own hard earned and legally earned cash in the bank. How can that be a felony?”

“It just looked like they were fishing for anything they could,” said Jeff Hirsch, who runs a company that distributes food and other products to convenience stores outside of New York.

“There wasn’t anything there,” Hirsch said.

In Hirsch’s case, the IRS seized $446,611 from his bank account, alleging that he had “structured” his cash deposits to avoid the $10,000 federal reporting requirement.

“Prior to reading the warrant, I had never heard of the concept of “structuring” and had no idea that depositing cash in amounts
under $10,000 could ever be against the law,” Hirsch told a House committee.

Hirsch accused the IRS of giving him and his lawyers “the run-around” – just as with the gun dealer from Georgia, the feds did not accuse Hirsch of any wrongdoing.

The stories left lawmakers aggravated.

“The IRS grabbed these taxpayers by the throat and squeezed them,” said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), as members of both parties vented their frustration to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at the same hearing.

Koskinen told lawmakers that IRS agents have been instructed to stop these type of bank account seizures – if someone has committed no wrongdoing, like the stories told at Wednesday’s hearing.

“In this country, people are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty,” Hirsch told lawmakers.

“But, in the eyes of the IRS, I was guilty until proven innocent—forced to prove my own innocence to get my property back,” he added.

“I did not serve three combat tours in Iraq only to come home and be extorted by my government’s use of civil forfeiture laws,” Clyde said.

“The concerns are legitimate,” Koskinen acknowledged.

8 comments
Pacifino
Pacifino

The Bill of Rights means nothing to the IRS, eric holder or obama. They will do as they please since they hold the purse strings and the jail cell keys. 

kbworkman
kbworkman

These jerks have seriously affected citizens lively hood and what will happen?

NOT A DARN THING.


I bet none of them will lose their livelyhood.


That is called enabling.

FutureView
FutureView

The IRS is the most feared organization in the United States. They are the only branch of the federal government that is above the law. We need to do away with our current tax system and disband the IRS. We should only be paying taxes to the state we live in. Then the state should be paying the federal government for services.

BuzzG
BuzzG

With  Obama in the Whitehouse, no one will touch the IRS as long as it is doing his work by harassing the Tea Party.  This is exactly the kind of government Thomas Jefferson was trying to avoid.  We have sunk a  long way and I see no real prospects for change.

davidduncan
davidduncan

CLINTON SIGNED INTO LAW THE TAX PAYERS BILL OF RIGHT. ONE WAS THAT THE IRS HAD TO PROVE THEY WERE RIGHT. NO LAW PASSED CAN ABROGATE THE 4TH AMENDMENT WITHOUT REPEALING IT---DID THE IRS SHOW A JUDGE THEIR PROOF THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO TAKE THE MONEY? IF NOT -THEN AS MENTIONED THE 4TH!

Pacifino
Pacifino

In many instances the IRS, and police, are simply stealing. They are legalized robbers, and get away with criminal acts in the name of law.  These bullying,  immoral, IRS agents need some oversight and should have to suffer consequence for their abusive thuggery conduct. Government in the US has gotten out of control. 

out2win
out2win

When did we do away with the Bill of rights article 6. ?

The right of the People to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. This use to be taught in school. When did we stop?