IRS Liens, Levies and Seizures

by Ernest Lee on Mar. 01, 2013


Summary: When it comes to unresolved tax debt, the IRS does not hesitate to take drastic action. Individuals and businesses are often surprised to discover that a tax problem has escalated to a potential IRS lien, bank/wage levy or the seizure of assets like homes, cars and valuable collectables.

When voluntary means fail, the IRS has a formidable array of powers to enforce collection. The IRS's authority to take enforcement action arises 10 days after the first notice and demand for payment of the unpaid tax.

Enforced collection action includes the filing of a Notice of Federal Tax Lien, the serving of a Final Notice of Intent to Levy, and/or the seizure and sale of your property.

Normally, the IRS sends several notices asking for voluntary payment of the tax before any enforcement actions are taken. If you have not contacted the IRS by this time, the IRS sends a notice of intent to levy by certified mail.

Thirty days later, if you have not requested an Appeals office Collection Due Process hearing to consider collection alternatives, the IRS may begin enforcement actions.

The IRS may place a lien for the unpaid tax on your property. The IRS may also seize (levy on) your property. Levy can be made on property in the hands of third parties (employers, banks, etc.) or property in your possession (automobile, house, etc.). Certain property cannot be levied upon: a limited amount of personal belongings, clothing, furniture, and business or professional books and tools; unemployment, worker's compensation, certain welfare benefits, and certain pension benefits; court-ordered child support payments; undelivered mail; and a small portion of wages.

The IRS must obtain court approval to seize your personal residence.

After seizure, the IRS can sell the property to satisfy the tax bill. The IRS will give you notice before the sale of the property. The sale is canceled if you redeem the property before the sale, or make other arrangements to pay the tax bill.


If you are facing IRS Liens, Levies or Seizures you should have competent representation as soon as possible.  We have experience in dealing with these cases.  Please contact us to discuss your options.  We will work diligently toward arriving at the best solution possible in your individual circumstances.

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