The most powerful collection agency in the world is the IRS. This government agency has the power to assign levies, garnish wages, and seize assets without going through a civil court of law or obtaining a judgment.
This means that there is no due process and no innocent until proven guilty with the Internal Revenue Service. They basically say: you owe us a huge amount of money, pay us in full and pay us now.
The IRS = ability to bypass the usually collection hurdles which anyone else attempting to collect a debt must jump over makes them very dangerous indeed.
The IRS has the ability to levy or seize
- your home and other real estate
- bank account
- Social Security
- your accounts receivable
- assets transferred for less than fair market value
- life insurance cash value
- household belongings
This list is not an exhaustive list of what the IRS can seize, but a representation of what is at stake with unpaid taxes.
Even though the IRS right does have a right to seize assets, that does not mean that taxpayers have no protection.
The first step in preventing a levy or seizure is to hire a tax professional to start handling the case so that it does not get to the point of seizure or levy.
A due process hearing is a hearing before an IRS Appeals Officer who is a member of Appeals Division of the IRS. This hearing, while quite different from a legal hearing, is certainly a rubber-stamp of the Collection Officer = s actions. You have the right to raise issues such as whether the seizure is really fundamentally fair. What this means is you have a right to argue that it would be fairer to stop the proposed seizure and start an Installment Agreement or an Offer in Compromise instead.
You can also raise the issue of whether you are an Innocent Spouse, or, in limited cases, whether the amount of the tax is correct or not.
An Appeals Hearing buys you some more time to raise money to pay the IRS, and if necessary you can appeal the decision of the Appeals Officer to the United States Tax Court.