NYC IRS Agents Seized Millions In Legally Made Money From 2012 To 2015
by Nathan Tempey, Apr 15, 2017 1:30 pm
The Internal Revenue Service has been seizing millions of dollars from law-abiding small business owners around the country for no reason other than how they put their money in the bank.
A recent report by the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the IRS took $130.6 million of people's assets from 2012-2015 in cases where the primary reason given for the taking was that the person or business's bank deposits appeared to be structured to avoid IRS reporting. The IRS requires special notification of deposits over $10,000, and specifically planning deposits to avoid this is a crime. However, to prove a violation, the government has to show that a person knew about the reporting requirement and intentionally tried to avoid it. The law also allows the IRS to seize people's assets as structuring investigations proceed, and makes no distinction between money made legally and money made illegally.
Of the $130.6 million, $57.5 million was gobbled up by the Treasury Department, $43.7 million was returned, and the rest is still in limbo or has been sent elsewhere.
The report found that in overseeing task forces that involved the IRS, the Justice Department had encouraged "quick hits," forfeiture actions where property was seized quickly and then some was signed over by the subject following high-pressure negotiations—in some instances investigators threatened to charge their targets with crimes if they didn't part with tens of thousands of dollars.
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