I focus my practice on tax resolution, representing taxpayers in Colorado, Florida, and across the United States. If you owe taxes to the IRS and are unable to pay, you may be concerned that they will seize your home and assets. While the IRS does have the power to seize property to satisfy a tax debt, it is important to note that this is not something that happens without warning.
The IRS would generally only consider seizing a taxpayer's property as a last resort. Before taking such a drastic step, the IRS would typically send multiple written notices and give the taxpayer opportunities to make payment arrangements or dispute the debt in question.
When the IRS does move forward with a seizure, it will be done in accordance with strict procedures and laws. They cannot simply take any property it wants; there are specific rules that must be followed. For example, the IRS may only seize property that is considered to be the taxpayer's "substantial property interest." This could include real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, stocks or other investments.
Before proceeding with a seizure, the IRS will typically send a final notice of intent to levy (i.e., seize property). This notice will give the taxpayer a chance to appeal the seizure and/or request a Collection Due Process hearing. If no appeal or hearing request is made, the IRS may proceed with the seizure.
If the IRS does seize a taxpayer's assets, there is still an opportunity to get them back. However, this process can be difficult and time-consuming. It typically involves working with the IRS to develop a payment plan or settlement agreement in exchange for the return of seized assets.
In conclusion, while the IRS does have the power to seize homes and assets to satisfy tax debts, it is not a step that is taken lightly. The taxpayer would be given ample warning and opportunities to avoid seizure through payment arrangements or appeals. If you owe taxes to the IRS, it is important to take the situation seriously and work with the agency to find a solution that works for both parties.