Tax Blog

What Is A Notice Of Levy? IRS Tax Levy Explained

by Kelly Hanley, Esq.

A Notice of Levy is an official document issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to inform a taxpayer that their property or assets are being seized to satisfy a tax debt. When the IRS sends a Notice of Levy, it typically means that the taxpayer has a delinquent tax debt, and the IRS is taking steps to collect the amount owed.

Understanding the IRS and Levied Taxes

As a tax attorney with 20 years of experience, I’ve seen many individuals mystified by the concept of a tax levy. To demystify, it’s essentially the government’s legal seizure of your property to satisfy a tax debt

Think of it as the IRS playing the role of a stubborn pirate, seizing your hard-earned doubloons when you don’t hand them over willingly. They can seize just about anything you own – your beloved car, the house you planned to retire in, even your treasured stamp collection. And yes, they can even reach into the sacred temple of your earnings and garnish your paycheck

So, now that we’ve laid down the terrifying facts, let’s cut the fear factor. Because the truth is, as imposing as the IRS may seem, it is not an unbeatable foe. 

The Ounce of Prevention: Pay Your Taxes, Matey!

Now, you might be chuckling, “Well, that’s groundbreaking advice.” But the fact is that most tax levies occur simply because of failure to pay taxes on time. It’s an avoidable problem, like tripping over the coffee table you’ve walked around a thousand times. 

Finding Help in Federal and State Laws

Here’s the counter-narrative: You have more power than you think. You’re not sailing these treacherous waters in a rickety old rowboat; you’re the captain of a battle-ready galleon, armed to the teeth with legal rights and protections. 

The IRS must follow certain rules before issuing a levy, including sending a Notice and Demand for Payment. If they don’t, it’s like trying to fire a cannon without gunpowder – it just doesn’t work. 

Your First Line of Defense: Appeal the Levy

In the event you receive a Final Notice of Intent to Levy, you’ve got a 30-day window to request a hearing under the Collection Due Process (CDP). This is not just a fancy tea party; it’s your opportunity to dispute the levy before an impartial third party. It’s like calling in a truce for a parley. 

Offering an Olive Branch: Installment Agreements

Suppose you owe the IRS a considerable amount. It’s like staring down the barrel of a loaded cannon. Instead of bracing for the blast, consider negotiating an installment agreement. This allows you to pay your debt over time, turning that cannonball into a series of smaller, more manageable grape shots. 

Throwing a Lifeline: Offer in Compromise

An Offer in Compromise (OIC) is your chance to negotiate a lower total debt if you can show that paying the full amount would cause financial hardship. Think of it as haggling over a price in the market, but with the power to keep the taxman at bay. 

Preventing Garnishment of Your Paycheck

No one wants to see their paycheck shrivel up faster than a raisin in the sun. The best way to prevent this is by stopping a tax levy before it happens. However, if the levy is already in place, it’s not game over. You can still request a hearing, propose an installment agreement, or make an Offer in Compromise

Remember, the IRS would rather collect some money from you over time than leave you destitute and unable to pay at all. 

The Final Salvo: Seek Professional Help

There’s no need to sail these seas alone. Tax professionals have been charting these waters for years, and they can help you navigate to safer shores. 

A seasoned tax professional can help interpret the complex language of tax laws, represent you in hearings, negotiate on your behalf, and ultimately save you from the crushing weight of an IRS tax levy. 

So, while the prospect of a tax levy may feel like walking the plank, remember: there are always options, always strategies, and always avenues of escape. You just need to know where to look, or, more accurately, who to look to for help. 

Just remember, friends, the IRS may seem like an unbeatable beast from the depths, but even Leviathans have their weak spots. All it takes is a well-aimed harpoon…or in our case, a well-placed call to a tax professional. So, brace up, tighten your grip on the helm, and set sail for calmer waters. You’ve got this.

For a free attorney consultation with me or one of my colleagues, call The Tax Defenders today at (312) 345-5440.

Can you negotiate a tax levy?

In fact, you can negotiate a tax levy.

That’s right, you didn’t misread. Just as in any intense game of chess, or perhaps a high-stakes pirate parley, strategy is paramount. There are two key negotiation options available: Installment Agreements and Offers in Compromise.

An Installment Agreement allows you to pay your tax debt over time, like a formidable captain dividing a daunting journey into manageable navigational points.

An Offer in Compromise (OIC), on the other hand, is the equivalent of waving a white flag, seeking a peaceful negotiation. If you can prove that paying the full tax debt would lead to financial hardship, the IRS may accept a lesser amount. It’s the financial equivalent of turning a tidal wave into a mere ripple.

How do I dispute an IRS levy?

So you’ve received a levy from the IRS, and it feels like you’ve been served the tax version of a fiery dragon. It’s fierce, it’s daunting, but remember this – dragons can be tamed.

To dispute an IRS levy, you must play the knight and respond with courage and strategy. You have a 30-day window to request a hearing under the Collection Due Process (CDP) after receiving the Final Notice of Intent to Levy. Consider this your chance for an epic tax duel where the weapon of choice is sound arguments, not swords.

In this hearing, you can present your case, dispute the tax owed, or propose alternatives such as an Offer in Compromise or an Installment Agreement. It’s like conjuring a magical shield against the IRS dragon’s flame.

Just remember, knights often didn’t go to battle alone. So, consider enlisting a tax professional, a seasoned Merlin of sorts, to guide you in your dispute. After all, a well-prepared knight makes for a victorious battle.

How long does it take the IRS to stop or remove a levy?

“Quick, the sand is running out!” Picture yourself in one of those thrilling movie scenes where the hero is trapped in a room filling with sand, desperately trying to stop the flow. Now, replace the sand with your assets, and you’ve got a tax levy situation.

So how long does it take the IRS to stop a levy? The truth is, it’s like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” The timeframe depends on your unique situation and the speed at which you respond.

If you’re quick on your feet and immediately request a Collection Due Process hearing, you might halt the levy within a month. If you propose an Installment Agreement or Offer in Compromise and the IRS accepts, the levy might cease in two to three months.

Remember, in this high-stakes race against time, a tax professional can be your secret weapon, accelerating the process and guiding you towards the finish line. Your countdown to freedom from the levy starts now.

What is an IRS levy?

Imagine coming home to find a stranger lounging in your living room, thumbing through your favorite books, and, heavens forbid, raiding your secret cookie stash! That’s essentially the feeling of having an IRS levy. It’s a governmental legal right to seize your property to cover unpaid taxes.

It’s important to know that this is not a whimsical “take-what-I-want” party for the IRS. Before an IRS levy happens, you will receive multiple notices demanding payment. Only when those letters are ignored does the levy move in, like that unwelcome house guest.

This “guest” can seize almost anything: your car, your bank account, even your paycheck. But before you panic, know that there are ways to escort this intruder out the door. Understanding your rights and options, and seeking professional help, can turn this sudden visit into a swift departure. So, brace up! The key to reclaim your space from an IRS levy is in your hands.

For a free attorney consultation with me or one of my colleagues, call The Tax Defenders today at (312) 345-5440.