Thai immigrants, Tony and Somnuek Thangsongcharoen, who are now American citizens, are devastated after their small bridal shop was seized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for owing $31,400 in back taxes.
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The couple’s attorney, Jason Freeman, a Southern Methodist University law professor, is now suing the government after the IRS sold an estimated $615,000 worth of bridal dresses for a mere $17,000. In an undercover inventory report, the IRS said the dresses were worth anywhere from over $600,000 to one million dollars. However, the IRS deemed that the wedding dresses were classified as ‘perishable’ and therefore gave them the right to seize the property for sale immediately. According to the IRS website, they define perishable as, ‘Items that have an expectation of spoilage, or will rapidly rot, decay, [or] decompose’.
Freeman says the move by the IRS was unusual and adds that, “Under the law there is another prong which the IRS appears to have attempted to use here, which is where the goods cannot be held for sale without greatly diminishing in value or without causing great expense.”
Additionally, Freeman says he’s not even sure the couple owed that much in back taxes.
“We have not conceded that they actually owe that in the first place which adds another wrinkle. But even conceding that they do, a $30,000 liability certainly does not prompt a warrant to action here,” he added.
Freeman says the couple, who are elderly are “destitute” and are currently living off of social security.