Can the IRS Seize My Property? Yes.
If you owe back taxes and don’t arrange to pay, the IRS can seize (take) your property.
The most common “seizure” is a levy. That’s when the IRS takes your wages or the money in your bank account to pay your back taxes. In 2017, the IRS issued 590,249 levies to third parties like employers and banks.
It’s rare for the IRS to seize your personal and business assets like homes, cars, and equipment. In fact, the IRS seized those kinds of property only 323 times in 2017.
The IRS saves true property seizures (other than levies) for the worst circumstances
Common examples are taxpayers who:
- Try to hide assets
- Have payroll tax issues (example: withholding taxes from employee paychecks, but not sending the taxes to the IRS)
- Commit tax fraud
Pay your taxes or get into an agreement to avoid property seizures
If you owe taxes and aren’t in an agreement with the IRS to pay them, the IRS can levy your financial accounts or garnish your wages. But it won’t come as a surprise. You’ll get a series of IRS notices asking you to pay your tax bill, and then warning you about a levy.
If you owe back taxes and need to get into an agreement with the IRS, a tax professional can help you find the best option and request it from the IRS for you. Learn more about H&R Block’s Tax Audit & Notice Services.
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