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The Legalities And Issues With An IRS Levy
Henry Byers

An IRS levy is an order from the Internal Revenue Security directing TVA to withhold a specified amount of an employee's pay to satisfy a tax debt. If the IRS determines that we owe back tax then it may issue an IRS levy requiring the deductions from the pay till the back taxes are paid. They may ask the person to sign an agreement of consent authorizing the amount to be deducted. The IRS levy can allow an amount to be exempt from withholding based on the o employee's tax filing station and the number of exemptions claimed.


A legal step taken by Internal Revenue System to seize anyone's property in order to satisfy his debt is IRS levy. They are different from liens. Lien is just a claim used as security for tax debt whereas in IRS levy they actually take the property to do so. If one cannot make arrangements to settle the debts then the IRS seizes or sells any type of personal or real property which one possesses. For example, the IRS can seize and sell property like boats, houses, cars, etc. Even they can levy property that is actually the debtors' but is help by someone else like the wages wit the employee, balance at the bank account, license, rental income, etc.


An IRS levy is issued only when he requirements are met. The first condition is when IRS sends a notice or demand for the payment of the tax assessed by them. Secondly, when the person refuses or neglects to pay the tax and lastly when a final notice of Intent to Levy i.e. a legal notice of IRS levy is sent 30 days before the levy. A person receives one more notice with this notice known as Notice of Your Rights to Hearing. These notices can be given anywhere at our business place, at home or can be registered with the return receipt.


One may ask the IRS to review the case or can even request to Office of Appeals by filing a request to the IRS officer listed in our notice. This request filing should be done within 30 days of the receipt of the IRS levy notice.


When the IRS levy, levy our wages, salary or bank account, the levy ends when it is released or when on e pays the tax debt or at the expiry of the time of legal collection of tax. When the IRS levy, levies the bank account, the bank holds the funds in deposit for 21 days. This time is given as the relaxation period to solve the problem at hand. After 21 days, the bank sends the money to the IRS along with the interest, if applicable, to the IRS.


If IRS makes any mistake, like while levying bank account, the bank charges are borne by the debtor. In such a condition one is entitled to have the reimbursement for such charges. For this reimbursement one has to file a claim to the IRS within one year after the bank has claimed the charges.


There are two different types of IRS levy programs. One is FPLP i.e. Federal Payment Levy program and the other is SITLP, which is State Income Tax Levy Program. Under the FPLP, the IRS may levy money from the federal payments received like Social Security benefits, retirement from the Office of Personnel Management, federal employee's salaries, etc. FPLP electronic levies the federal payments made through Department of Treasury, Financial Management services. When these agencies levy through FPLP, they take 15% from each of the payments till the account is resolved. One can call IRS employee for assistance if he is already working with them.


Under the SITLP, IR levies the state tax refund. This implies to individual state tax refunds only. Inclusion of business tax refunds in the future is under consideration. If the state tax refund is levied, the state issues a notice of advice about the levy. If one receives an advice, legally, for the Rights of Hearing then this IRS notice of advising is not issued.


Henry Byers, Retired IRS Manager and IRS Tax Levy expert - focusing on Garnishment Laws and IRS Levy



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