What can I do if I can’t afford to pay the IRS and they want to seize my assets?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Your best bet is to call the number shown on the form immediately to hold off the IRS action. Talk with a representative from the Automated Collection Systems. They are user-friendly and will make an effort to resolve the delinquency with a minimum amount of paperwork. The best approach while you work through the ordeal is to speak up and answer all the questions asked. 

When can I handle the IRS notice myself?

Ideally, the IRS notice should have been handled the first time they sent out an audit letter. Because the communication was not taken care of, it is essential that you contact the IRS and inform them of your intent to pay. You will be responsible for the full amount of your tax debt, but the IRS does have payment plans available to make the repayment more affordable. If after speaking with the IRS agent you are still unable to achieve an affordable payment plan, you need to contact a tax attorney. 

What if the amount asked for in the audit is incorrect?

Unfortunately, your hesitancy to answer the IRS notices most likely waived your right to challenge the audit. If you are confident that the IRS has made a mistake, consult a tax attorney immediately and begin making all necessary corrections with the appropriate parties. For instance, if your employer reported the wrong income amount, request that the employer send an amended report to the IRS. 

What if the IRS has placed liens on my property?

If the IRS has already filed liens against your property to have your assets seized, those liens will not be removed until the tax debt is paid. Once you have paid the tax debt in full, contact the IRS for a signed receipt and confirmation of the payment as well as a document stating the lien was canceled, and file these documents with your local county recording office.

Read our section on Tax Audits, Liens and Levies for more information on how to deal with collection efforts by the IRS.

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