Monthly Archives: May 2019

How long does a levy last?

The IRS can seize your assets as long as you owe any part of a tax debt and the 10 year statute on collections has not expired.  Generally, levies are one-shot affairs.  The government must prepare and send a new levy notice every time it wants to seize an asset.

EXAMPLE:  If the IRS levies your bank account on Monday, the bank must remit everything in the account to the IRS on that day.  If the balance gets to zero, then the IRS gets nothing form the bank.  If you deposit $150,000 on Tuesday, the IRS can’t touch it without sending a new levy notice.  If the bank sends anything to the IRS from Tuesday’s deposit without receiving another levy notice, then the bank will have to pay you the amount it remits to the IRS.

Independent contractors and employees:  As long as you work for the same employer, your employer must withhold a portion of each paycheck for the IRS.  This rule does not apply to independent contractors.  The IRS can intercept funds owed to a self-employed person to a business.  The payor, however, must send only what it owes you at the time it receives the levy notice (current accounts receivable).  It is not liable to the IRS for any future amounts unless the IRS sends a new levy order.

What should you do when the IRS files a tax lien?

If you can’t informally convince the IRS to forgo recording a tax lien, here are some options to consider once the tax lien has been filed.


  1. Appeal the lien filing.  The IRS has 5 business days after the filing of the lien to provide written notice to the taxpayer.  The must include notice of the right to request a hearing within 30 days form the 6th day after the lien filing.  If you want he appeal, the lien will be withdrawn. Unfortunately, the lien filing will still appear on your credit report.


  1. Pay in full. If you don’t have the funds, you can always borrow from friends or relatives.  The IRS must release a lien within 30 days of full payment you can call the IRS Centralized Lien Office in order to verify that the lien has been released.


  1. Request a partial discharge. If you own several assets that are encumbered by the tax lien and want to use one to pay off the IRS, ask for a discharge from the tax lien.  The IRS will likely do this.