IRS Tax Levies: What You Need To Know

William Freudenthal owed the IRS some money. Quite a bit of money, actually – just over $16,000. And Freudenthal hadn’t been exactly timely about paying his tax obligation. He’d ignored notice after notice from the IRS. Finally, the IRS took action. They were going to seize some of Freudenthal’s assets – namely his classic 1965 Chevy Chevelle – to settle the debt.

This was not news that Freudenthal took well. His wife wasn’t exactly thrilled, either, and as you can imagine, the couple had an argument. Events escalated tragically, and Freudenthal struck his wife. The blow killed her.

Now, William Freudenthal is in prison. His wife is dead and his life is wrecked – and the real tragedy here is that the situation was completely avoidable. It didn’t have to end that way. Freudenthal, like every other American taxpayer, was entitled to the protections and procedures that are built into the tax code.

What is a Tax Levy?

A tax levy is the procedure the IRS uses to get money from taxpayers after they’ve exhausted every other avenue available to them. If you won’t voluntarily turn over the money to pay your tax obligation, the IRS will come and get it.

Let’s say you have some outstanding tax debt on the books – taxes that you were supposed to pay, but just didn’t, for whatever reason. The IRS will send you several notices, reminding you that you need to pay your taxes. If it remains unpaid, the IRS will eventually send you a Final Notice of Intent To Levy. This is your final warning to pay your taxes. If you don’t, the IRS is going to seize some of your assets to settle the debt.

What Type of Assets Can The IRS Seize?

The IRS has been given a great deal of latitude in their mission to collect revenue for the government. They can seize many different types of assets, including money from your bank account, real estate, vehicles, or personal property. The IRS can also garnish your paycheck, taking their share of your earnings before you even see it! This is known as a wage levy.

What Should You Do If You Receive A Final Notice of Intent To Levy From The IRS?

If you have received a Final Notice of Intent to Levy from the IRS, you have 30 days to respond. During those thirty days, the best thing you can do is find an expert tax problem solver. You are entitled to file a Collection Due Process Appeal in response to the Final Notice of Intent to Levy. However, it must be filed within 30 days of the date of the Final Notice. This appeal stops the IRS collections process and sends your case to the IRS Appeals Office. At that point, your tax accountant will work with the IRS to find a reasonable solution to your tax problems.

What If More Than 30 Days Have Gone By?

If it’s been more than 30 days since you received the Final Notice of Intent to Levy from the IRS, don’t despair! You still have options. With the assistance of your tax accountant, you can still file a Collection Due Process Appeal. At this point, the IRS collection efforts don’t stop automatically. However, your tax accountant will be working with the IRS to prevent the seizure of your assets.

If a levy has already happened, you still have options. A Collection Appeal, also known as a CAP, can be filed. In order to release the levy, you will have to meet certain conditions. Your tax accountant will let you know what these are, but they generally include filing any outstanding or unfiled tax returns, and submitting a Collection Information Statement along with a proposal of how you plan to resolve your outstanding tax debts. This could include an Installment Agreement, being placed as Currently Uncollectable Status, settling through an Offer In Compromise, or additional time to raise the funds to full pay the outstanding tax liabilities.

What Type of Resolution Can There Be For My Tax Problems?

The IRS has a single goal. They are mandated to collect as much tax revenue as possible, and they are becoming more diligent about this mission with every passing day. However, an experienced tax professional can often work with the IRS to find a resolution you can live with – and that stops the IRS from seizing your bank accounts, property, or classic cars!
Installment Agreements are a common resolution, as are Offers In Compromise to settle the tax debt for a fraction of the original amount owed. If you have to full pay your outstanding tax liabilities, a great tax problem solver will work to see if there is reasonable cause to abate any interest and penalties, which can save you thousands of dollars.

Solving Your Tax Problems

William Freudenthal learned the hard way that the one thing you don’t want to do in this situation is ignore the IRS. The IRS moves slowly, but it doesn’t stop – once they have you in their sights, they’re going to pursue you until the tax debt is settled. Having an expert tax problem solver on your side can help you get the debt resolved and the threats of levies and seizures behind you. Don’t lose everything. Get help for your tax problems!