A tax or IRS levy is an administrative action by the IRS under its statutory authority to legally seize property to satisfy a tax debt. This is in contrast to a lien which is a legal claim against property to secure payment of the tax debt, while a levy actually takes the property to satisfy the tax liability. Obviously, an IRS levy is a frightening proposition to most, if not all, taxpayers.
A federal tax lien is the government’s legal claim against your property when a taxpayer neglects or fails to pay a tax debt. A federal tax lien exists after the IRS assesses liability, i.e. puts a balance due on its books, and sends the taxpayer a Notice and Demand for Payment, a bill that explains how much tax is owed. If the full debt isn’t paid in a timely manner, the IRS files a Notice of Federal Tax Lien, a public notice, to notify creditors and other interested parties that the government has a legal right in a taxpayer’s property. When conditions are in the best interest of both the government and the taxpayer, other options for reducing the impact of a lien exist:
A federal tax lien is the government’s legal claim against your property when you neglect or fail to pay a tax debt. The lien protects the government’s interest in all your property, including real estate, personal property and financial assets. A federal tax lien exists after the IRS:
• Puts your balance due on the books (assesses your liability);
• Sends you a bill that explains how much you owe (Notice and Demand for Payment); and
• Neglect or refuse to fully pay the debt on time.
The IRS files a public document, the Notice of Federal Tax Lien, to alert potential creditors and the public that the government has a legal and enforceable interest in your property.
An offer in compromise (OIC) is an agreement between a taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. If the tax liabilities can be fully paid through an installment agreement or other means, the taxpayer, in most cases, will not be eligible for an OIC.
In order to be eligible for an OIC the taxpayer must have:
- filed all tax returns;
- made all required estimated tax payments for the current year; and
- made all required federal tax deposits for the current quarter if the taxpayer is a business owner with employees.
It’s considered by many taxpayers to be one of the most frightening events that could happen related to their everyday business affairs. What is this frightening event? An IRS audit, of course. But is a tax audit really that scary in real life? The numbers reveal that only 1% of all taxpayers experience an audit, and of this one percent, about one in five result in a meeting with the IRS.
Presently, the IRS audits half as many taxpayers as it did five years ago. However, the amount of tax recovered per audit has increased. The IRS uses an elaborate computer selection process, auditing only those returns which will almost certainly yield some adjustment.
You’ve filed all of your tax returns, and because of your level of income you find yourself in the class of taxpayers whose return is more likely to trigger an IRS audit. So you wonder, how long does the IRS now have to audit you?
Due to disclosure requirements, the IRS makes contact with a taxpayer selected for an audit by telephone or mail only. When returns are filed, they are compared against norms for similar returns. These norms are developed from audits of a statistically valid random sample of returns, selected as part of the National Research Program conducted by the IRS to update return selection information.