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Judge rules against man trying to recover $16 million in taxes

Georgia residents may be interested in the case of a Mexican man who tried unsuccessfully to recover millions that the IRS had deducted from his gambling winnings. The man struck it big in Las Vegas between 2007 and 2010 playing high-limit slot machines, but a significant part of his winnings were withheld. The IRS levy amounted to $16.3 million.

The man filed a suit against the U.S. to get the money back by claiming that he was a professional gambler. He argued that the money he had wagered on slot machines while in the United States should be considered business expenses, but a federal court judge disagreed. In a July 2014 ruling, the judge said that the man had failed to demonstrate that his trips to Las Vegas were purely business in nature. The ruling noted that the man had attended family gatherings and had behaved like a tourist during his many trips.

The judge also quoted the man's own description of his gambling to support the ruling. He said that the man appeared to enjoy the thrill of thrill of gambling, and his approach to the activity was driven more by the pursuit of emotional thrills than business profits. The judge also pointed out that the man displayed a more pragmatic approach in his other business and investment ventures.

Individuals may feel that they have little chance of success when dealing with the IRS, but this is not always the case. Efforts to garnish wages or levy against bank accounts may sometimes be prevented by an attorney with experience in this area when action is taken promptly. The tax attorney could also challenge IRS efforts to seize assets and may be able to work out a compromise and settlement.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Jackpot Winner Can't Beat IRS on Tax Levy", Jamie Ross, July 24, 2014

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