IRS Seizes Money 3.7 Million Times in 2011

Number of Seizures Equals Words in US Tax Code

Last year was a pretty busy one for the bean counters at the IRS, and for millions of taxpayers, too.

The IRS garnished wages and instituted bank levies 3.7 million times in 2011, leaving perhaps millions of taxpayers the subject of its collection actions. And a lot of work for tax attorneys.

How big is 3.7 million? About the size of the US Tax Code. One count indicates that the tax code has that many words. The tax code has become so fickle that over the past eight years it’s been changed at a rate of more than one a day.

Tax levies are one of the IRS’s favorite ways to institute its collection actions. There’s two types: continuous and noncontinuous levies.

Continuous levies are wage garnishments. They’re most common on income from wages, and can be used on contract income as well. A continuous levy stays in place continuously and leaves you with only a portion of your paycheck.

Noncontinuous levies are used on bank accounts, and can be used on contract income as well. It freezes your funds at its source and stays in effect for 21 days. After then, the IRS has the funds go straight into its coffers. During that three-week period the IRS can release the levy, but increased rules make releases a bit more difficult.

The 3.7 million figure is no small number, and shows that it’s a safe bet that IRS agents are more than happy to target taxpayers who owe back tax debt.

But hiring a tax attorney or tax professional can increase your chances of not becoming one of the millions targeted by IRS agents for tax levies. That’s a club you’ll be happy not to join.


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