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Levies and the IRS: Definition, process and remedies

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a number of tools to gain payment. A taxpayer that is accused of failing to meet his or her tax obligations could become the victim of one of these tools. Examples include a levy, garnishment, lien, seizure or other collection matter.

Those who are struggling with tax obligations can benefit from a basic understanding of these processes. The following information focuses specifically on the levy process. 

What is a levy? A levy is a process used by the IRS to satisfy a tax debt. Essentially, it allows the agency to confiscate the property of a taxpayer that has allegedly fallen behind in payments to the IRS.

When can the IRS move forward with a levy? This specific action is generally not a surprise. The IRS must satisfy three requirements before it can move forward with a levy:

  • Tax. First, the agency must assess a tax and notify the taxpayer of the obligation. This is done by sending the taxpayer a Notice and Demand for Payment, also known as a tax bill.
  • Lack of payment. The IRS would then need to establish that the taxpayer failed to meet his or her tax obligations.
  • Notification. Finally, the agency would need to send out a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to A Hearing documents 30 days prior to moving forward with a levy.

As noted by the IRS, this process is only used in the event that a taxpayer has not made arrangements to settle tax obligations.

What types of arrangements to settle tax obligations are available? Those who cannot make an outright tax payment still have options. One example is an offer in compromise which essentially involves putting together an offer of payment to the IRS that the agency would accept in lieu of the full requested payment.

Additional options to settle tax obligations as well as to stop levies are available. Contact an attorney to discuss these matters. 

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Law Offices of Robert T. Leonard, APC

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