IRS Levy – What is a Notice of Levy?
An IRS Notice of Levy is a letter sent to taxpayers who have not paid their back taxes and have an IRS lien placed against them. The IRS is notifying the delinquent taxpayer that the agency will begin enforcing collection of the tax debt using levy actions such as wage garnishment, property seizure, and bank account seizure. A notice of levy causes many problems for taxpayers. It means that the taxpayers’ accounts and assets may be frozen by the tax lien, which may prevent the possibilities of selling them or changing ownership of the items. The taxpayer only has 30 days in which to take care of the tax debt before tax levy enforcement action is taken. Failing to pay back the full amount of your tax debt after receiving an IRS notice of levy will mean that levy enforcement will start unless the necessary steps have been taken.
It’s important to note here that an IRS levy is a legal seizure of your assets to use towards a taxpayer’s outstanding tax debt. They’re different from a tax lien, as an IRS lien is a hold on assets, while a tax levy will actually take them away from the taxpayer.
What Actions Does the IRS First Take Before a Notice of Levy is Issued?
Typically, there are procedures the IRS will follow before resorting to sending a notice of levy. They go as follows. First the IRS has assessed your account, decided that you have a certain amount owed, and then they will send you a notice that demands immediate payment. This is a tax bill the agency expects to be paid upon being received. If the taxpayer neglects to pay the amount demanded, then the IRS will send a final notice of intent to levy accompanied by a notice of your right to hearing. The IRS must also include an explanation for the issuing of the tax levy, the process in which the levy happens, and the alternatives the taxpayer has when dealing with enforcement. These documents are released thirty days prior to the tax levy being ordered, allowing the taxpayer a month to respond promptly. These ‘before’ notices will be sent via certified mail and or delivered at the address the IRS has on file. In some cases, the IRS will hand deliver the notice to the taxpayer.
When Will a Levy Be Issued?
To put it simply, when the IRS computer (ACS) has enough noncompliance information, the Automated Collection System (ACS). This means that the taxpayer has not paid their taxes nor have they taken the proper steps to make arrangements in doing so. The IRS will then take enforcement action and issue a tax levy against assets you own or that others do.
What Can a Levy Be Issued Against?
There are quite a few of things the IRS can levy once the notice has been delivered and there has been no correspondence within thirty days. In terms of what the government can legally take from a delinquent taxpayer, our tax professionals list them here:
Garnish Wages – IRS Wage Garnishment
An IRS Wage Garnishment – the IRS will demand that your employer garnish your wages and send them to the IRS to be applied to your tax debt rather than to you personally. An IRS Wage Garnishment is continuous which means unless it is stopped and released, the tax levy will go on and on until the entire tax debt is paid in full.
THE TAX PROFESSIONALS AT FLAT FEE TAX RELIEF ROUTINELY HAVE AN IRS WAGE GARNISHMENT STOPPED AND RELEASED IN ONE DAY.
Independent Contractor or Vendor Payments – 1099
The IRS has all your information. When an agent is on the case, they can reach out to third parties who owe the levied taxpayer money and demand these payments are sent to the IRS instead. The IRS will seize 100% of the the money due you.
OPM Retirement Benefits, SSA Benefits, Employee Travel Advances
The IRS also has the power to take these perks from you and use them towards the entirety of your tax debt owed. Regarding Social Security Benefits and Veteran’s Pensions, the IRS can take an automatic 15% from your check. This seizure is called The Federal Payment Levy program (FPLP). Try living on what’s left.
In the worst case scenario, the IRS can put a tax lien on your bank account and lock it from you. After forty five days, they can then demand that whatever money in your account is transferred directly to the IRS. You have 21 days to get your money released back into your account. The 21 days includes Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, so you have no time to lose. You are at a disadvantage if you try to have the IRS bank levy released on your own.
Commissions – Independent Contractors (Insurance Agents, Real Estate Agents, etc.)
Depending on the situation, if the taxpayer is going to be receiving commission from a certain project or legal endeavor, then the IRS will take action and claim the commission to help satisfy tax debt. The IRS will keep it all.
Property (Includes Rental Property)
Any piece of property that the taxpayer owns which could help satisfy their tax debt. This starts with a home and can go all the way to toy vehicles that could be used to satisfy tax debt. Any piece of property that the taxpayer owns which the IRS considers valuable, they can levy and use towards the outstanding amount owed. If you own rentals, the IRS can seize the tenants payments.
Anything of Value
Truthfully, when the IRS has decided to take enforcement action, it’s possible that they can levy anything the taxpayer owns and use it towards the tax debt. Even possessions or holdings that are not considered assets to the taxpayer could be levied and used to resolve the amount owed.
What to Do Once You Receive the Intent to Levy Notice?
To state it simply, the obvious way to avoid having your assets taken and penalties added to your account is to pay off the debt owed. This will resolve matters with the IRS and dismiss the investigation issued for your account. However, if the taxpayer cannot pay the amount owed, then there are alternative programs which they might be eligible for. These are payment programs tailored towards taxpayers that are not in the financial situation to pay off their debts. The two main alternatives being an installment agreement and an offer in compromise.
This is basically a payment plan similar to the way one would pay off a loan. Depending on what is agreed between the taxpayer and the IRS, the taxpayer will then be put on a monthly installment plan and pay off their debt in increments. These terms usually last anywhere from 3-6 years. Again, depending on what is agreed, it is possible that through this payment plan the taxpayer will end up paying a larger amount in interest.
An Offer in Compromise is a tax settlement between the IRS and the taxpayer for an amount drastically less than the tax debt. Due to the IRS not wanting to implement a forgiveness policy for all those who cannot pay their taxes, eligibility for this plan is limited to those who lack the ability to pay after deducting their allowable expenses. The taxpayer needs to meet very specific criterion and must prove to the IRS that there is no possibility that they could pay the tax owed. The IRS, usually coordinating with a tax professional representing the delinquent taxpayer, will come to an agreement on how much is owed and will settle with one lump sum payment.
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The Different Types of IRS Levy Notices.
The short is answer is no. There are different notices for different types of situations. For instance, a CP297 and CP90 act as notifications to taxpayers that they have an outstanding balance the IRS has tried to collect, and because they’ve been noncompliant the IRS will now take action against them. This action being that they will levy their assets, bank accounts, wages, and more. However, a CP523 is sent to those who entered an installment agreement but did not fulfill the terms. This type of notice will explain why the account defaulted, the conditions of the levy, and the options thereafter to avoid having assets seized.
An L-1058 and L-T11 usually succeeds the final notice balance due letter. This type of levy notice states that a taxpayer has an overdue balance and they have failed to address or resolve the account with the IRS. Due to this negligence and the notices that were sent prior, the IRS will issue a levy on the taxpayer’s assets after a thirty day period.
Then a CP91 and CP298 are notices sent to taxpayers who still owe money to the IRS despite the letters sent warning them of a 15% levy that is going to be placed against their social security benefits (FEDERAL PAYMENT LEVY PROGRAM). These notices typically arrive after a CP297 or CP90.
As you can see, there are multiple different types of levy notices. It’s important that if a taxpayer received a notice, they do the proper research in understanding what sort of notice they have received. Being that levy notices are indicative of a serious tax problem, it’s recommended the taxpayer seeks professional help in formulating a plan of action to ensure their assets are not seized.
The tax professionals at Flat Fee Tax Relief provide valuable IRS tax debt help at a very affordable fee. Our It is my duty, my responsibility, and my pleasure to provide you with a thorough evaluation of your tax problem. Our conversation will take 20 to 30 minutes. By time we complete our consultation, you will know what your tax relief options are and what you can expect to by our tax professionals.
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