The IRS is a powerful debt collector, to say the least. They have the entire mechanism of the government’s resources at their disposal, and they will utilize it to ensure that they are able to collect unpaid taxes. Although the IRS is incredibly aggressive, the system is inherently fair, because there are plenty of potential avenues for recourse… whether you agree with the amount they say you owe or not. Among those options is the Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing, a chance for you to contest a levy before it becomes official.
Before the IRS enforces a levy based on unpaid tax obligations, they follow a very meticulous procedure of forms and notices to create a paper trail and give you the option to dispute their findings. For many taxpayers, often their first awareness of being levied comes via certified mail and IRS Form Letter LT 1058 — better known as the Notice of Intent to Levy and Right to Request a Hearing. Alternatively, you may receive LT 11, a more recent version of this form that is a little less clear about your options. We’ll get to that in a moment.
Many people will take one look at that letter, see the number owed, and simply become defeated. They may “put their head in the sand” and pretend that it’s not happening, or tell themselves that there’s nothing that can be done, so they might as well just ignore it. However, if they read a little more carefully, there’s another very important section in the Notice that might give them reason for optimism.
That section concerns your Right to Request a Hearing. You have the right, by law, to have a hearing where you are able to speak your piece, present relevant evidence, or contest the factual basis of the IRS’ claim against you. If you received LT 1058, you’ll notice that this information is fairly prominent. LT 11, on the other hand, shuffles those very important details way down on the second page. For that reason, many people receiving LT 11 might not even realize they still have options.
Chief among your options to contest your impending levy is to schedule a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing. You have 30 days from the date of mailing on your letter to inform the IRS that you are exercising this right. This will automatically force the date of any possible levy back another 30 days, because the IRS is barred from enforcing the levy until the hearing is concluded.
Your CDP hearing is your chance to present your side of the story, which might include disputing the IRS’ figures; or, if you know that the balance is accurate, you can present payment alternatives. For example, at your CDP hearing, you can offer to enter an installment agreement, offer in compromise, or other repayment arrangement that presents you with less hardship.
Obviously, the way you present your case in this matter is very important. Consider retaining an experienced Collection Due Process Hearing attorney to represent your interests in this matter. With their exhaustive knowledge of state and federal tax law, an Abajian Law attorney can make a compelling, assertive defense of your rights that will almost undoubtedly give you a better chance at a favorable outcome than if you were to go it alone.
If you’re staring down the barrel of a significant impending levy, contact Abajian Law as soon as possible to take this burden off of your shoulders and place it into our capable hands. We’ll leave no stone unturned as we build a powerful defense of your interests and argument as to why the IRS should show you leniency or flexibility.