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Can the IRS Seize Your Property?

Many people are surprised to learn that the IRS can seize your property and they can generally do so without even going to court. Unpaid taxes are serious debts, with serious consequences. If you don’t actively engage with the IRS when you have an outstanding debt, they could seize your property or garnish your wages [1] by levying your assets.

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What is a Notice of Levy?

If you receive a Notice of Levy, your natural reaction will probably be to start panicking. However, it’s not too late to resolve the situation. To start with, you will want to know where to get help and find answers to questions like what is a levy? [3] Fortunately, it can be easy to access assistance when you are having difficulty meeting your tax liabilities.

A levy enables the IRS to seize your assets and property in lieu of unpaid taxes. This means that the IRS will take ownership of one or more of your assets, such as your house, your vehicle or your wages. Once a levy is in place, it will generally remain functional until the outstanding amount has been paid off in full.

Can a Levy Be Avoided?

Absolutely. Paying your taxes in full is the easiest way to avoid the IRS taking action to collect the debt. Even if you have received a levy notice, you can usually stop the levy being applied to your assets by paying the outstanding debt.

However, if you are unable to pay off the outstanding debt, you can still stop the levy being placed on your property. By engaging with the IRS, you may be able to come to an agreement and pay off the outstanding amount in small increments over a longer period of time, for example.

Alternatively, the IRS may accept an Offer in Compromise. This means that you will pay a reduced amount in settlement of the outstanding debt. For this to be a viable option, however, you will need to show that your assets, income and necessary expenditure will make it extremely difficult for you to pay the debt in full.

Managing the Levy Process  

If you receive a Final Notice of Intent to Levy, it will usually be accompanied by a Notice of Your Right to a Final Hearing. These must be issued no later than thirty days before a levy is applied to your property.

Ideally, you would come to an agreement with the IRS well before these notices are issued. However, if you have already received a levy notice, [4] you will need to take action swiftly to stop the process. Although you can manage this process alone, it can be advantageous to seek professional assistance.

Getting Specialist Help

Seeking advice from an experienced tax attorney can be useful when you are facing action by the IRS. With in-depth knowledge of the law and procedures, a tax attorney is well-placed to resolve the situation quickly and in your favor. Furthermore, having a tax lawyer act on your behalf can give you the confidence to deal with the situation and resolve your outstanding debt, which will minimize the negative impact of the situation and enable you to move on.

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