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The $10,000 Question

The Internal Revenue Service says it will focus on seizing money it thinks people got illegally. It announced that “policy update” in response to a New York Times inquiry. The IRS has been taking lawful businesses’ money — including, according to the Institute for Justice, that of a grocery that carried insurance for only $10,000 in cash — just because it has been deposited into banks as cash in amounts less than $10,000. Federal law requires deposits of more than that to be reported, and depositing less for the specific purpose of evading that reporting is called “structuring.” But while convicting someone of structuring requires the government to prove that intent beyond a reasonable doubt, if the government just seizes the money under civil asset forfeiture procedures, the victim has to prove his innocence. Many victims can’t afford to. Meanwhile, the IJ says only one in five cases where the IRS takes someone’s money on a structuring claim gets prosecuted in criminal court. (AC/New York Times) ...In other words, the government structures its cases to evade the presumption of innocence.
Original Publication Date: 02 November 2014
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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