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Can The IRS Take Money From Your Bank Account?

can the IRS take money from your bank account

As a bankruptcy law firm, we often hear questions like: Can the IRS take money from your bank account? It may be hard for some to imagine that the government is legally able to take money directly from your bank account. However, it does happen in certain situations. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the government agency responsible for collecting U.S. tax dollars and  enforcing tax laws. In the case that an individual has not paid their taxes and is unresponsive to the IRS’s requests, the IRS may take extreme measures– such as taking the money from your bank account in order to satisfy the debt. 

If you receive a notice from the IRS that states their plan to seize money from your bank account, you must act fast. An experienced tax and bankruptcy attorney can stop the IRS from taking money from your bank account, in certain situations. Contact our attorneys at O’Bryan Law Offices today to schedule a free consultation and see how we can help protect your account from IRS seizure. 

What Happens When The IRS Takes Money From My Bank Account?

If you have overdue taxes, the IRS may take money out of your bank account directly. We’re often asked, “How is the government able to do this?” If the IRS does determine the appropriate action is taking money directly from your account, they will track down your bank account.

  • One way to track a bank account is simply tracing the bank details from previous tax returns.
  • Another way to track your bank account includes scanning accounts associated with your social security number.

Before deducting the funds from your bank account, the IRS should have sent multiple notices. 

After sending these notices, the IRS provides the recipient with a “grace period”, in which they provide information on how to resolve the situation with them.

If, for whatever reason, you did not receive the previous attempts to contact you and do not reach out to the IRS, the bank must remove the funds straight from your account and transfer them to the IRS. 

Deducting funds from a bank account is one of the harshest collection techniques used by the IRS. However, this method is typically reserved for cases in which the taxpayer is unresponsive, and the IRS has no other means to collect the money. 

When Does the IRS Seize Bank Accounts?

So, in short, yes, the IRS can legally take money from your bank account. 

Now, when does the IRS take money from your bank account?

As we stated, before the IRS seizes a bank account, they will make several attempts to collect debts owed by the taxpayer. Oftentimes, the IRS will not use this method, unless they believe that the debtor has made no effort to resolve his or her tax debts.

If after several attempts, the IRS is not successful in reaching you or collecting your debts, they will issue a notice of their intent to seize. This notice is also known as the Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of your Right to A Hearing. Once they issue the notice, you have 30 days to resolve your debt before the IRS seizes your bank accounts.

If you receive an IRS notice of levy, your best bet is to take immediate action to revolve your tax debt. If you are stuck and worry that a levy would place you in a financial crisis, seek the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. An attorney can help release the levy, if they can prove that the levy would cause you serious financial hardship. If your account was already levied, an attorney may help you to get your claim reimbursed. 

There are a few exceptions as to when the IRS does not need to issue the 30-day Final Notice of Intent. If they feel collection of the money you owe is in  jeopardy, they may not issue a warning. In addition, the IRS does not need to provide notice if they are collecting from a state tax refund or if they served a Disqualified employment tax levy. If they do not give you 30 days notice beforehand, they will send you a notice of your appeal rights after.

What is a Levy?

A tax levy refers to the legal seizure of assets or properties by the IRS to fulfill a tax debt. The assets or properties that the IRS may levy include anything the taxpayer owns. This may include things like homes, cars, boats, or more. However, the IRS is more likely to levy accounts or garnish accounts than it is to seize and sell any physical assets or property. The IRS generally turns to levying property as a last resort because it isn’t as cost effective.

It may also levy property that belongs to the individual, but that another person or entity holds. This includes things such as wages, bank accounts, dividends, accounts receivables and rental income.

What Happens When the IRS Levies a Bank Account?

When the IRS levies a bank account, they will contact the bank and ask for a temporary hold on your funds for a 21 day period. This hold doesn’t take the money out of the account, but simply freezes it. That means while it is there, you don’t have access to it. They grant this holding period to the individual so they can resolve any ownership issues that may arise concerning the account.

If there is no conflict in ownership, then after the 21 day period, your bank will send those funds over to the IRS. They are able to levy up to the total amount you owe in back taxes, and the bank must comply. For many individuals, this might mean everything in their entire bank account is completely seized. 

The only way you are able to release a levy due to hardship is if you make a satisfactory resolution. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your back taxes get paid off in a single payment. You may be eligible to schedule payment plans that allow you to repay your debt in a way that caters to your situation. This may either be paying fixed installments over a period of time or postponing your payments until your financial situation improves. 

How Many Times Can the IRS Levy Your Bank Account?

Levies are not able to occur after the IRS’s 10-year statute of limitations for collecting debts is up. Unfortunately, while in that 10 year period, there is no limit to the amount of times they are able to levy your account. It may be that they continue to levy funds until you make some kind of arrangement to pay back your debt.

When the IRS levies your account, it is not a standing levy. This means that you’re able to deposit money the very next day without fear that the bank will freeze your funds. The levy will attach to funds once the bank processes it, so if the IRS tries to issue another levy, it won’t be immediate. It takes some time for the bank to process the levy and initiate it. 

Contact our Legal Team at O’Bryan Law Offices Today!

O’Bryan Law Offices is Louisville, Kentucky’s top bankruptcy law firm. You don’t need to suffer alone through the stress of increasing debt pressure. Our firm combines an in-depth understanding of bankruptcy law and strategy with individualized, compassionate client service. Whether you are filing for bankruptcy or have more questions like can the IRS take money from your account?, we have you covered.

In addition to helping you stop the IRS from levying your taxes, we can also assist you with problems like mortgage foreclosure, tax obligations or small business restructuring. If you need legal financial help, contact O’Bryan Law Offices today. Fill out our contact form or give us a call at 502-632-4311 to see how we can help you get your life back on track. 

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