Tax Lawyers Answer Common Tax Questions About the IRS
Four Common Tax Questions and Answers: Help with the IRS, Audits, Liens, Levies, and Garnished Wages
Dealing with the IRS and related tax problems can be anyone’s worst nightmare. Once the IRS has begun to go after you, it can seem that they won’t stop even after you think they have gotten what they want. Tax lawyers work to solve such nightmares. Today two tax attorneys with extensive knowledge in tax law want to answer some of your common tax questions for free. Below you will find four answers to common tax and IRS related questions.
Why did the IRS file a tax lien against me?
A tax lien, usually filed with your county recorder, serves as notice to those who may loan you money (home or car loan, bank loan, credit card advances, etc.) that once the lien is filed, the IRS’ claim against you for taxes will come before those of anyone loaning you money after the filing. With certain exceptions it attaches to all property, real and personal, tangible and intangible, in which you have an interest, wherever the property may be located. A lien does not result in the actual seizure of any property, real estate or other forms. Further, before the IRS can file a lien against your property, it should give you 30-day notification that it intends to do so. This may give you time to make a payment or other arrangements.
Can the IRS levy on my house? On my wages? On my bank accounts? What about retirement funds?
A levy usually means the property is actually seized by the IRS. In the case of real estate, it means the IRS can force a sale of the property and keep the proceeds up to the amount of taxes, penalties and interest owed.
A certain portion of wages and commissions are exempt from levy; the amount depends on a number of factors, including the number of dependents. All forms of bank accounts-savings, checking and CDs-are subject to a levy in full. In order to catch subsequent deposits, the IRS must serve a new levy on the bank. Once wages are levied upon, the same levy reaches all subsequent wages, commissions, bonuses, etc.
No forms of retirement funds are exempt from levy, including social security payments and other forms of government pensions. However, unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits are exempt from levy, as are SSI and some forms of public assistance.
A small amount of household and personal effects, and tolls and equipment used in the taxpayer’s trade or business, are exempt from levy.
The IRS is garnishing my wages. How can I stop them?
The IRS will garnish your wages after proper notice. All the IRS wants is payment or a good reason why you can’t pay. This is when you can negotiate a payment plan or an Offer in Compromise or convince the agency you are worthy of uncollectible status. It is imperative after you receive a notice of “Intent to Levy” that you deal with it immediately. Intents to Levy are time-sensitive and if you miss your deadline to reply, i.e. make payment arrangements, your employer will be made aware of the situation and your wages may be garnished. If you’re not sure how to go about this, consult a qualified tax attorney to assist you.
When is the right time to consult an attorney?
There are various reasons you would need to consult an attorney such as: fraud investigation, a long audit or one that involves legal issues, inadequate books/records, not filing returns for a number of years, if you don’t actually owe taxes, if the statute of limitations has run out or if you would feel more comfortable dealing with the IRS through an attorney. Whatever the reason, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced tax attorney to help you through your foray into the wide world of IRS red tape. Many law firms offer free initial consultations to better understand your situation and decide how they can help.