It’s Never Too Late for the IRS To Say “I’m Sorry.” But Do They Really Mean It?
This story is music to my ears! Earlier this month, the IRS apologized for seizing the bank accounts of innocent, law-abiding citizens. Not only did they say, “I’m sorry”, they also said they were going to change their ways. That’s a first. The Associated Press published the article which stated, “Pressured by Congress, the IRS said Wednesday it is changing its policies and apologizing for seizing banks accounts from otherwise law-abiding business owners simply because they structured bank transactions to avoid federal reporting requirements.” (www.finance.yahoo.com/news/irs-apologizes-seizing-bank-accounts-172627143.html) The interesting thing about the above statement is that the IRS, while apologizing, is also alleging that the business owners whose accounts were seized were actually guilty of structuring their bank deposits in order to avoid paying taxes. Fact is, none of the people targeted by the Civil Assets Seizure program have been charged with a crime. While it seems perfectly reasonable for the IRS to target anyone suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations or a history of tax evasion, it is highly unconstitutional to assume guilt and then not even give the person a chance to prove their innocence. The crime those who become targets of the IRS Civil Assets Seizure program are alleged to have committed is as the AP article states, “routinely making bank deposits of less than $10,000, that allowed the business owners to avoid reporting requirements designed to catch drug dealers and money launderers.” The Associated Press article continues with, “IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress that the IRS is changing policies to prevent the seizures, as long as the money came from legal means. “To anyone who is not treated fairly under the code, I apologize,” Koskinen told the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. “Taxpayers have to be comfortable that they will be treated fairly.” Is it fair that the IRS doesn’t have to give notice before seizing the assets, nor do they have to prove that the person is actually guilty of anything? Apparently all the IRS has to do is to assume the account in question is ‘probably’ involved in structuring. Doubtful that ex-marine and Georgia gun shop owner, Andrew Clyde felt he was treated fairly when the IRS seized just under a million dollars. This is his story as related by the AP. “Clyde said he didn’t know about the reporting law when he got an insurance policy that only covered losses up to $10,000 if they happened outside his store in Athens. Clyde and three other business owners appeared before Roskam’s subcommittee to recount how the IRS had seized their bank accounts. Because of his insurance policy, Clyde said, he didn’t like carrying more than $10,000 in cash between his store and the bank. As a result, Clyde said, he made 109 transactions between May 2012 and March 2013, totaling $940,313. A month later, he said he was visited by two IRS agents who accused him of structuring those deposits to avoid the reporting law. They said the account had been seized.” “I was never so afraid in my life,” said Clyde,” a former Marine who did three tours in Iraq. “I trembled when they left.” In addition, the article reports, “Clyde said he was never accused of evading taxes or of illegally obtaining the money. Yet, he said, the IRS filed a civil complaint against him and made several offers to settle the case by forcing him to forfeit large portions of his money. In August, three days before the scheduled start of a civil trial initiated by the IRS, Clyde agreed to forfeit $50,000 in order to get the rest of his money back. Clyde said his legal bills totaled almost $150,000.” Law-abiding taxpayers are easy picking for the IRS. It’s time for change so that maybe someday taxpayers will be comfortable that they will be treated fairly.