Levies and Garnishments

 

It is not a good day when you find the IRS has wiped out your bank account[s] and/or garnished your payroll check. However, if you find yourself in this less than ideal situation,


there are steps you can take to improve your outcome
 
 
1
SEEK THE ASSISTANCE OF A TAX ATTORNEY OR CPA WHO HANDLES IRS COLLECTIONS ISSUES. Be sure to hire someone you trust and who regularly handles levies and garnishments to ensure you get the best outcome possible given your specific set of facts.
2
Make sure all tax returns due from you or your business (if applicable) have been filed. The IRS will not release a levy or garnishment if you have missing returns.
3
If you have received a notice of intent to levy, file a collection due process appeal (IRS form 12153) within the time period set forth on the notice to prevent a levy from being filed in the first place while your case goes up to an appeals officer for review.
4
Consider whether you qualify for bankruptcy protection by seeking the counsel of a bankruptcy attorney in your area. In some cases that qualify, a bankruptcy can be the best way to avoid an IRS levy as filing of a bankruptcy petition protects the taxpayer from any collection action so long as he or she remains under the protection of the automatic stay protections offered by the Bankruptcy Court. In some cases, personal income tax may be fully dischargeable in a chapter 7 bankruptcy, and others may be best handled through a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan which offers better options than dealing with the IRS for an installment agreement in some instances. If you think this avenue is open to you, it is critical that you seek the counsel of a licensed bankruptcy attorney in your area.
5
If you have tried all else and still have no relief, file a Form 911 (available at the IRS website www.irs.gov) and seek the assistance of a Taxpayer Advocate. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is a third party entity that reports directly to Congress and they can be helpful in the situation where a taxpayer cannot get relief from the IRS directly.
 
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