The two things that just about everyone in the United States fears are death and taxes, and many people spend years attempting to avoid them, bargain with them and make deals for a little bit more time. When it comes to owing federal taxes, most people end up making deals for more time to pay.
However, the IRS may have other ideas. In fact, as the agency attempts to collect the back taxes you owe, it may attempt to seize your business and/or your home. The IRS has a great deal of power and reach when it comes to its collection efforts, but that does not mean that it is always in the right.
Can the IRS immediately seize your property?
No. The IRS must go through several steps before taking your business, home or any other property you own. First, you have the right to know that you owe a debt, even to the IRS. You should begin receiving letters indicating how much the IRS believes you owe and the deadline for making a payment.
At this point, if you agree with the assessment and have the money, you could just send the IRS a check and be done with it. However, if you either disagree with what the IRS says you owe or don't have the money to pay the amount, you must now take other actions. The first step is to contact the agency to make arrangements to pay in installments, make a compromise for a lesser amount or object to the amount.
Ordinarily, if the IRS begins collection efforts against you, it will start with liens, retention of your income tax refunds and levies. Usually, it is only after taking these steps that the IRS will begin seizing property. If the agency says you owe more than $5,000, your assets could be subject to seizure.
It's a process
The IRS can't simply come to your home or business and change the locks. You must either give your permission or request that agents obtain a seizure order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. If the court issues the order, agents will probably come back in numbers and perhaps with guns. Agents will then post notices to the public, padlock the doors and make arrangements for the sale.
If it looks as though the IRS may attempt to seize your property, you may want to find out about your rights and legal options as quickly as possible. Even though the agency may have the authority to seize your business or home, that does not mean that it should or that it could do so legally.