A tax levy ordered by the IRS is an enforced collection, where money is taken out of your bank account. An IRS bank levy or wage garnishment will happen if you do not pay your tax debt or make arrangements to settle your tax liability. The following are seizure actions available to both the IRS and state:
Seizure and sale of property that you hold (such as your car, boat, or house), or taxlevy on property that is yours but is held by someone else (such as your wages, retirement accounts, dividends, bank accounts, rental income, accounts receivables, the cash value of your life insurance, or commissions).
The government usually levies only when the following three conditions have occurred:
The government assessed the tax and sent you a Final Notice – Balance Due
You neglected or refused to pay the tax, and
The government sent you aFinal Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to A Hearing (levy notice) at least 30 days before the tax levy. The government usually sends this final notice to your last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested, but they may give this notice to you in person, or leave it at your home or your usual place of business.
Important Note: If the government (IRS) doesn’t have your current address because you have not notified them directly of an address change, you may not get the notice. If they send a notice to an old address, it is still considered sent and the agency can proceed with asset seizure. (We see this happen to our clients over and over again)
If an IRS levy is placed on your bank account, the tax levy attaches funds that have cleared and are available for withdrawal, up to the amount of the levy. The bank must wait, however, until 21 days after a levy is received before sending the money to the government. The holding period allows you time to resolve any dispute about account ownership or get professional advice on your situation. After 21 days, the bank must send the money, plus, if applicable, any interest earned on that amount.
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