11 Tips To Avoid An IRS Tax Levy | Flat Fee Tax Service | San Diego
Updated: Jun 15
The Treasury Department of the United States has a well-earned reputation for being serious about collecting tax debt. The mere mention of its enforcement arm – the IRS, is sufficient to invoke anxiety and fear into the most honest of taxpayers. One reason for the trepidation generated by the IRS is that it has a potent arsenal of weapons at its disposal to pursue taxpayers who are in arrears, including tax liens and a tax levy.
Many people confuse tax liens and tax levies. While neither is desirable, a tax lien poses much less financial danger to taxpayers than a tax levy does. A tax lien represents an initial attempt by the IRS to collect revenues from taxpayers who have failed to either pay their taxes in full or to contact the agency to discuss viable repayment options. By contrast, by the time the IRS gets around to filing a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to A Hearing, otherwise known as a tax levy, taxpayers are in imminent danger of losing valuable assets such as cars or homes to seizure.
Avoiding the dire consequences of a tax levy should be your focus. Fortunately, taxpayers who take expedient measures can frequently avoid enforcement by the IRS tax levy. Depending on the personal circumstances involved, it may be possible to dodge a tax levy long enough to contact the IRS with alternative arrangements – or even long term.
1. YOU CAN Request a 120-Day Extension
1. One of the few absolutely guaranteed ways to avoid a tax levy is to repay what you owe to the IRS in full. If you are here reading our material,paying the IRS in a lump sum is probably an option. Now, if you have a reasonable expectation of being able to repay your tax arrears within 120 days, request an extension from the IRS. Once you have made payment, the lien should be released within 30 days, which will automatically cancel the tax levy.
The IRS can less flexible about allowing taxpayers to extend payments over time when taxpayers try to negotiate their way through an IRS problem. In recent years, the IRS has changed its stance and actively encourages collaboration between agents and taxpayers. So, if you can pay what you owe within a reasonable time frame, generally six years or less, depending on your total balance in arrears, you may be able to avoid a tax levy by negotiating an installment agreement. If so, you need to act quickly to prevent the actual tax levy from going through.
3. SUBMIT an Offer in Compromise
An Offer in Compromise is a formal tax settlement that allows taxpayers to settle their tax debt by paying less than the full amount due. The Offer in Compromise process requires taxpayers to demonstrate that attempts to collect the full amount owed would present an undue financial burden or would otherwise be untenable. As might be expected, the standard for qualifying for an Offer in Compromise are strict, and taxpayers would be well advised to seek an experienced tax professional before pursuing this tax relief option.