The IRS could file a federal tax lien to protect the US government from the back taxes owed by the taxpayer. Although the federal IRS tax lien attaches to all the taxpayer’s property, some property is exempt from the IRS levy. The following items could be exempt from levy to some extent:
(1) wearing apparel and school books,
(2) fuel, provisions, furniture, and personal effects: up to $8,250 for 2010 ($8,370 for 2011),
(3) unemployment benefits,
(4) books and tools of a trade, business, or profession: up to $4,120 for 2010 ($4,180 for 2011),
(5) undelivered mail,
(6) certain annuity and pension payments,
(7) workers’ compensation,
(8) judgments for support of minor children,
(9) certain AFDC, social security, state and local welfare payments and Job Training Partnership Act payments,
(10) certain amounts of wages, salary, and other income, and
(11) certain service-connected disability payments ( Code Sec. 6334(a)).
If you owe back taxes, you should note that certain specified payments are not exempt from levy, wage garnishment and bank levy, if the Secretary of the Treasury approves the levy. Among the items so covered are certain wage replacement payments as specified at Code Sec. 6334(f).
If you’re seeking back taxes help, the IRS may not seize any real property used as a residence by the taxpayer or any real property of the taxpayer (other than rental property) that is used as a residence by another person in order to satisfy a liability of $5,000 or less (including tax, penalties and interest). In the case of the taxpayer’s principal residence, the IRS may not seize the residence without written approval of a federal district court judge or magistrate ( Code Sec. 6334(a)(13) and (e)). Unless the collection of the back tax is in jeopardy, tangible personal property or real property (other than rented real property) used in the taxpayer’s trade or business may not be seized without written approval of an IRS district or assistant director. Such approval may not be given unless it is determined that the taxpayer’s other assets subject to IRS collection are not sufficient to pay the amount due and the expenses of the proceedings. Where a levy is made on tangible personal property essential to the taxpayer’s trade or business, the IRS must provide an accelerated appeals process to determine whether the property should be released from levy ( Code Sec. 6343(a)(2)).
Also, if you owe back taxes, tax levies are prohibited if the estimated expenses of the levy and sale exceed the fair market value of the property ( Code Sec. 6331(f)). Also, unless the collection of the back tax is in jeopardy, a levy cannot be made on any day on which the taxpayer is required to respond to an IRS summons ( Code Sec. 6331(g)). Financial institutions, such as banks and brokerage firms, are required to hold amounts levied or garnished by the IRS for 21 days after receiving notice of the levy to provide the taxpayer time to notify the IRS of any errors or possible resolve their back tax matters ( Code Sec. 6332(c)).
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