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FAMILY STANDS FIRM AS IRS INTERCEPTS FUNDS FOR PENALTIES

The Lapp family remains undaunted despite the crippling blow the IRS has dealt the Chautauqua County dairy farmers by intercepting their monthly milk check -- roughly $10,000, family members said Wednesday.

"Our faith in God is strong enough that we have the confidence that nothing is going to happen that we can't deal with or that God won't help us deal with," Susan Lapp said.

On Monday, the Internal Revenue Service instructed Charlap's Dairy, which buys milk from the Lapps, to withhold its payments for that milk. The IRS is seeking $51,000 from the family, in wage deductions, interest and penalties dating back to 1991.

Ms. Lapp admitted that the IRS action threatens the livelihood of the Jacob Lapp family on its large dairy farm in Cassadaga.

"We're not sure how we're going to continue operating without any income to cover expenses," she said. "Will our business survive? We can't logically survive without a pay check for five months."

In 1991, the Lapps decided to stop filing tax returns. They reasoned that they couldn't accurately fill out forms listing their precise earnings and salaries, because their farm and produce stand run on an informal cash basis.

The Lapps also have refused to appear in federal court, claiming they wouldn't get to tell the full version of their story.

"We are willing to talk to them (the IRS) in a public setting, either in our home or in a neutral setting," Ms. Lapp said.

She also took issue with the IRS figures, such as the $43,000 the family supposedly paid in wages last year.

"Those are totally false and fraudulent figures," she said.

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