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How to Deal with IRS Seizure Notice: Protecting Your Assets and Rights

Dealing with an IRS seizure notice can be a daunting and stressful experience. The IRS has the authority to seize your assets, including property, bank accounts, and even personal belongings, if you owe unpaid taxes. However, it's important to understand your rights and take the necessary steps to protect your assets. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the process of an IRS seizure, your rights as a taxpayer, and strategies to prevent or resolve an IRS seizure.

Understanding IRS Seizure Process

The IRS follows a specific process before seizing a taxpayer's assets. It begins with sending a "Notice of Demand for Payment," which serves as a tax bill. If you neglect or fail to respond to this notice, the IRS will issue a "Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing." This final notice gives you 30 days to appeal or make payment arrangements. Failure to respond within this timeframe allows the IRS to initiate asset seizure.

Types of Assets Subject to IRS Seizure

The IRS has the authority to seize a wide range of assets, including personal property, real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement funds, and even wages. They can take assets that are not physically in your possession, such as a boat stored at a friend's house. However, there are certain exemptions and limitations on what the IRS can seize. These exemptions include minimum exemptions for salaries, unemployment benefits, worker's compensation, court-ordered child support payments, and certain pension and disability payments.

Protecting Your Assets from IRS Seizure

When faced with an IRS seizure notice, it's crucial to take immediate action to protect your assets. Here are some strategies to consider:

1. Understand Your Appeal Rights

Upon receiving a notice of intent to levy, you have the right to request a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing. This allows you to present your case and provide reasons why the IRS should not seize your assets. It's advisable to work with a tax professional who can guide you through the appeal process and help you prepare a strong case.

2. Explore Payment Arrangements

To prevent an IRS seizure, you can set up a payment arrangement with the IRS. This can be done through installment agreements, where you agree to pay off your tax debt in regular monthly installments. The IRS offers various types of installment agreements, such as guaranteed installment agreements, streamlined installment agreements, and financially verified installment agreements.

3. Request an Offer in Compromise

If you are unable to pay your tax debt in full, you may be eligible for an Offer in Compromise (OIC). An OIC allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount owed. However, the IRS carefully evaluates each OIC application, considering factors such as your income, expenses, assets, and future earning potential. Seeking professional assistance in preparing and negotiating an OIC can greatly increase your chances of success.

4. File for Bankruptcy

In some cases, filing for bankruptcy may provide protection against IRS seizure. Bankruptcy can temporarily halt collection efforts, including asset seizures, while you work towards resolving your financial situation. It's important to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to determine if this is a viable option for your specific circumstances.

5. Seek Legal Assistance

Dealing with an IRS seizure notice can be complex and overwhelming. Consulting with a qualified tax attorney or enrolled agent who specializes in tax resolution can provide invaluable guidance and representation throughout the process. They can help you navigate the complexities of tax laws, negotiate with the IRS on your behalf, and protect your rights as a taxpayer.

What to Do If Your Assets Are Seized

If the IRS proceeds with an asset seizure, it is crucial to understand your rights and options. Here are steps to take if your assets are seized:

1. Request a Post-Seizure Review

After the IRS seizes your assets, you have the right to request a post-seizure review. This review allows you to challenge the seizure and argue that it was improper or unnecessary. Working with a tax professional can help you present a compelling case during the review process.

2. Explore Redemption or Purchase Options

In some cases, you may have the opportunity to redeem or repurchase your seized assets. This involves paying the full amount of your outstanding tax debt, along with any additional costs incurred during the seizure process. Discussing these options with a tax professional can help you understand the feasibility and implications of redemption or repurchase.

3. File a Lawsuit

If you believe that the IRS acted improperly or violated your rights during the seizure process, you may choose to file a lawsuit. This legal action can help you seek compensation for any damages caused by the seizure and hold the IRS accountable for their actions. Consulting with an experienced tax attorney is essential when considering a lawsuit against the IRS.


Receiving an IRS seizure notice can be a distressing experience, but it's important to remember that you have rights as a taxpayer. By understanding the IRS seizure process, exploring available options to protect your assets, and seeking professional assistance, you can navigate this challenging situation. Remember to take immediate action, gather relevant documentation, and consult with a tax professional who can guide you through the process and work towards a favorable resolution.


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