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Pillage People Strike Again

Wednesday November 5th, 2014   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 6:09am PST   •  

Treasury_200As we have noted, the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting those who advocate limited government and lower taxes, and calls this harassment “horrible customer service.” The IRS also sends billions to identity thieves and wastes more billions in improper payments. The federal agency generally fails in the fight against tax fraud. Now, as Shaila Dewan notes in the New York Times, the IRS is grabbing the money of Americans who have done nothing improper.

Dewan cites the case of Iowa restauranteur Carole Hinders, who had $33,000 from her checking account seized by the IRS. Hinders was not charged with any crime. The federal agency’s pillage people grabbed the money because she deposited less than $10,000 at a time. Without any investigation whatsoever, the IRS charged that Hinders did so to avoid triggering a government report for deposits of $10,000 or more, a measure designed to catch drug traffickers, terrorists, and such. Hinders had been told by her mother that deposits of less than $10,000 help the bank avoid paperwork. Here’s another example: A Michigan grocery store owner found his insurance company would cover only up to $10,000 in cash. So when he approached that limit, he made a deposit. These are hardly the only cases.

Dewan notes that the IRS seized $447,000 from the accounts of the Hirsch brothers, owners of Bi-County Distributors in New York State. The Hirsches had kept their deposits low because three of their bank accounts had been closed by the paperwork of the frequent cash deposits. As Dewan observes, “the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.” Former federal prosecutor David Smith told the Times, “They’re going after people who are really not criminals. They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.” And as Hirsch lawyer Joe Potashnik told Dewan, “I don’t think they’re really interested in anything. They just want the money.”

IRS officials claim they will curtail these practices and focus on cases with “exceptional circumstances.” Based on their record, one doubts it. Accountability simply does not exist at this agency, and their ultimate boss, President Obama, finds not a smidgeon of corruption in their worst actions. They want the money and will go after it by any means necessary.

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November 2014