This is the IRS's forced collection instrument where they will sell your possessions in order to fulfill your unpaid back taxes. The IRS tax levy is the most deadly of all IRS collection methods. Once the IRS places a levy they can take your assets in order to cover for the tax debts that are outstanding. Getting an IRS levy removed means you typically need to come to an agreement with the IRS and they will agree to stop taking collection actions against you. There are many ways you can remove a tax levy, below are the most common methods.
- Pay the total tax amount in full – This is the most common sense way of resolving tax debts and getting a levy released. If you pay the tax amount owed in full, the IRS will immediately halt collection actions against you and the IRS will remove the levy.
- Let the statute of limitations expire – Under typical [conditions the Internal Revenue Service has 10 years to collect the taxes owed since the day they were first assessed. Once the 10 year period is up, the IRS can no longer collect from you and the levy will no longer be in effect. Remember, if the IRS is hot on your case and they haven’t collected after 9 years, they will try to get you to extend the statute of limitations. They may try to word it differently and not tell you that this is what they are doing, but it is, so be careful what you sign if a lot of time has already passed. If you haven't paid the amount owed in 9 years, it is extremely unlikely they will be able to collect from you in the last year. Especially since by this time you can be considered an expert in avoiding the IRS.
- IRS Installment Agreement – An installment agreement is a payment plan with the IRS. With an installment agreement you will be able to pay off the tax amount owed in manageable monthly installments. Payments must be made regularly or the IRS can start collection actions again.
- Apply for the partial payment installment agreement – If you cannot make the minimum required payments for the installment agreement the IRS will consider you for a partial payment option. With this option you will be able to make smaller monthly payments and may actually never end up paying off the entire amount of tax owed. The IRS will review your financial situation every couple of years to see if you can pay off the taxes owed or be put on a normal installment agreement.
- Offer in Compromise (OIC) – If you apply for this form of relief, the IRS will temporarily pause the IRS collection actions until the IRS has decided about your case. Do not apply if you don’t think you will qualify, this will be considered fraud and will come with harsh punishments. This is a difficult type of relief to receive from the IRS, but if accepted, the levy will be lifted. The IRS only allows individuals to apply for this type of relief if they fall into one of three categories with strict requirements.
- Prove to the IRS it is not worth it for them to collect – Show the IRS that if they were to take your assets and sell them, they would gain nothing. Sometimes the IRS needs to be shown this in order to stop collections.
- Prove Financial Hardship – If you can show to the IRS that the levy creates economic hardship and it greatly affects your ability from earning enough to maintain a roof over your head or your families head, it is likely the IRS will lift the levy. For example, if the IRS tries to seize an asset of yours that is required for you to make a living, you can easily prove that this will create financial hardship because you will no longer be able to make money.
- Put up a bond with the IRS – If you post a bond, a levy will no longer be in effect. If a levy is in place, and you cannot pay your taxes, it is highly unlikely you will qualify for a bond. If you do qualify for a bond, you may be better of paying the tax amount owed in full.
- Appeal the tax levy –You have the right to appeal the levy and have it lifted if wrong procedures were taken. Don’t use this tactic to stall.
Getting a levy lifted can be complex. It is important that you use a tax attorney or CPA to help. Some of these methods above can be chancy to do without professional help because they can get you in deeper trouble with the IRS if not done properly. An IRS levy can be financially overwhelming , the advice and assistance of a tax professional can save you lots of money and grief.