Even as House Republicans consider impeachment proceedings against IRS Director John Koskinen for misconduct, including the failure to preserve documents under subpoena by Congress, and protecting disgraced official Lois Lerner who targeted conservative groups in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, the story of the “little guy” who beat the seemingly all-powerful federal behemoth is reason to celebrate.

The Internal Revenue Service is known for being one of – if not the most powerful agency in the federal government, not only because it can seize property, confiscate wages, freeze bank accounts, and initiate the dreaded audit. The IRS, after all, was the branch of government that finally brought down Al Capone after Eliot Ness and the FBI failed.

So the victory of Maryland dairy farmer Randy Sowers is a win for all the rest of us who toil in the service of the IRS and live in fear of its power.

Sowers crime? He divided deposits into his bank account into amounts less than $10,000 to avoid a little-known rule that requires banks to notify the IRS when a $10,000 deposit is made into an account at one time.

The IRS considers dividing deposits into lesser amounts to be “structuring,” which is a crime, so when agents informed Sowers that he was facing criminal prosecution, he paid the government the 10 percent fine of the nearly $300,000 in structured deposits.

Sowers says that he wasn’t aware he was committing a crime, but merely followed the helpful advice of a bank teller who told him it would “be easier for everyone to keep deposits down.”

But shortly thereafter, the IRS changed its policy to collect the ten percent fine only on funds generated from criminal activity, which didn’t apply to Sowers’ dairy farm operation or his popular annual farm fair.

Sowers petitioned the IRS with the support of his Congressman and the conservative Institute for Justice – and shock of shocks, the fine was refunded.

“I’m happy in more ways than one,” Sowers said after the announcement. “Getting my money back and defeating something that was wrong.”

Sowers added that the $29,000 was “definitely welcome right now!”

 

 

 

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