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San Jose, CA tax law attorney for IRS leviesPaying taxes is an important and often complicated responsibility. If a taxpayer does not adequately fulfill his or her tax obligations, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can take several actions. In some situations, the IRS may even seize some of the taxpayer’s personal wealth and property to satisfy his or her tax debt. If you have been contacted by the IRS about a tax liability-related concern, you should speak to an experienced tax attorney to get the legal guidance and help you need.  

What Is an IRS Levy?

Many people do not realize that the federal government is permitted to seize some of an individual’s assets if he or she does not pay his or her taxes. If you have an unresolved tax debt, the IRS may eventually use a levy to collect the delinquent tax. Before the IRS issues a levy, it will send you a “Notice and Demand for Payment.” If you do not respond, you will then receive a “Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing.” If you still do not resolve the debt or make an arrangement with the IRS for settling the debt, the IRS may be permitted to take ownership of your property.

What Types of Property Can the IRS Take?

The IRS is permitted to levy any property that you personally own or property in which you have an interest. The IRS could levy your bank accounts, part of your wages, accounts receivable, dividends, income from rental properties, retirement accounts, business assets, and more. The IRS could also seize personal property such as vehicles, and if approved by a U.S. District Court Judge, even your home. The IRS cannot levy assets that you did not own or did not have an interest in at the time the levy was enforced. For example, if a relative gifts you money and you add it to your bank account after the levy was issued, these funds are not subject to the levy. The IRS will also not levy:

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back taxes, IRS scam, San Jose IRS tax debt attorney, private debt collection agencies, private debt collectorsThe IRS recently announced that it will begin contacting people regarding back taxes through private debt collection agencies. However, these private collection agencies will only be used for limited types of cases. However, with any entity that tells you it is working on behalf of the IRS, it is still wise to question the contact's validity—many people claim they are “working on behalf of the IRS” as part of an IRS scam.

Still, with this new change, there are ways to protect yourself if you are contacted by a legitimate private debt collector.

Details of the Initiative Using Private Debt Collectors 

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San Jose tax law attorney, unpaid taxesA new law will soon go into effect that will revoke the passports of taxpayers who owe a significant amount of back taxes. This law was passed in 2015 as a tax collection tool for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Details of the Law

The law allows the IRS to certify your tax debt to the State Department—the agency that issues passports. Once a tax debt is certified, the State Department will revoke passports or prevent passports from being issued to the tax debtor. The IRS has not yet begun certifying tax debt and has not announced the exact date this process will begin; however, the IRS did indicate that the first certifications could come in early 2017.

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