‘An Abuse of Power:’ IRS to Face Lawmakers After Thousands Seized From Small Business Owners
For more than four years, Maryland dairy farmer Randy Sowers has beenfighting the federal government, asking it to right what many say was a wrong.
In Feb. 2012, two federal agents told Sowers, who owns South Mountain Creamery in Frederick, Md. that the Internal Revenue Service was seizing more than $60,000 from his farm’s bank account under a subset of civil forfeiture laws governing cash transactions.
According to the IRS, Sowers had committed structuring violations. Structuring is the act of making consistent cash deposits or withdrawals of under $10,000 to avoid government reporting requirements.
But the dairy farmer didn’t know he was doing anything wrong, and because Sowers and his wife sold milk at local farmer’s markets—where customers paid primarily in cash—they frequently made cash deposits into the business’s bank account.