All financial challenges are frightening, but nothing is scarier than owing a debt to the IRS. Most people facing a large IRS debt feel helpless and don’t know what to expect. The system is confusing and IRS debt collectors can be aggressive, so the first thing you should do if you are behind on tax payments is to find a support system who understands the law and can offer guidance and comfort during this frightening experience.
Most people realize they owe the IRS money when a letter arrives telling them what they need to do. There might be a few written notices within a short period of time. Please remember the IRS will always contact you in writing, and will never ask for personal information. If you receive an email or phone call demanding money or access to a bank account, it is a scam and has nothing to do with the IRS.
What are Liens and Levies?
Ignoring the official IRS Notice and Demand for Payment or refusing to pay it enables them to place a lien or levy on your property. A federal tax lien means your property has a legal claim against it. Federal tax liens can be placed against personal property, real estate, and your financial assets. You will know the IRS is seeking a lien when you receive a copy of the Notice of Federal Tax Lien document that is filed at your local courthouse.
Another option the IRS has when you owe them money is to get a levy. A federal tax levy is the seizure of your property. Liens guarantee security for the IRS, levies get them the actual property to sell. The IRS must be granted court approval for a levy, which is obtained through a hearing that you are entitled to attend. If they receive the levy, the IRS is then able to seize and sell any property you own.
For more information about liens and levies, visit IRS.gov.
What You Should Do If You Receive a Notice about a Lien or a Levy?
First and foremost, contact an attorney familiar with IRS debts. He or she will evaluate your case and provide guidance for how best to proceed. It is possible to get a lien removed from your property in order to sell it and settle your debts. Sometimes the IRS will accept a payment plan, but the process of getting one approved can be frustrating.
It might feel as if you are helpless when you are facing a tax debt, but it is possible to remedy the situation. Keep in mind tax debts can accumulate interest, so the longer you let the problem linger the more you will owe. You are better off contacting an attorney as soon as you know there is a problem.
Are you facing a tax debt? Has the IRS contacted you about money you owe and you aren’t sure what to do next? We can help. Contact the Rockland NY Bankruptcy law office of Frank J. LaPerch, PC at 845.942.5500.