Does the IRS have to notify a taxpayer prior to a levy?

Does the IRS have to notify a taxpayer prior to a levy?

  • October 16, 2012
  • David Greene
  • Comments Off on Does the IRS have to notify a taxpayer prior to a levy?

The IRS must serve a Notice of Intent To Levy on a taxpayer by certified mail at least 30 days prior to executing a levy on wages or bank accounts. Hopwever, the definition of “service” is different for the IRS than for Court. In state or federal court, I must serve a defendant either in person or through certified mail restricted delivery. If by mail, the defendant must sign the receipt or the service is not valid. However, the general rule for the IRS is that service is valid as of the date the letter is mailed. Thus the IRS only need prove that the letter was mailed to the last known address for valid service, not that it was actually received by the taxpayer. Also, one cannot defeat service by simply refusing to get the letter. A recent case reaffirmed that policy. The District Court stated that the taxpayer could not defeat actual notice by refusing to accept delivery of the Deficiency Notice. If he had accepted delivery, he could have contested the validity of the assessment through normal appeals channels, so he was denied the opportunity to contest the validity in the District Court. This same rule applies when the IRS sends the letter to an old address from which the taxpayer has moved. The Court says this is still good service because the taxpayer should have notified the IRS of his new address. Therefore, if one gets a notice that he has an IRS certified letter, he should accept delivery of the IRS letter. He has more options for settlement and stands a much better chance of making a good deal with the IRS in this manner.

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