Yes, the IRS can seize your property, but, certain guidelines and restrictions are more stringent today than when first implemented. It used to be quite a common practice for the IRS to seize your property and sell it, without so much as a court order. This was especially commonplace for businesses that were delinquent with payroll taxes. If you have proven to be a delinquent taxpayer, items such as cars, home furnishings and entire homes, business equipment, and machinery can be seized by representatives of the IRS. They will sell your assets and property to pay the amount of taxes you owe and have not paid.
The Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (IRSRRA) was passed and, since that time, the seizures have become less frequent. However, they are still an option and a valuable tool for revenue recovery by the IRS.
The IRS enforcement agents will knock on your door and hand you a “Writ of Entry,” which gives them permission to enter your abode. They will inventory your assets and remove them for sale. A moving van with movers will arrive to take possession of your assets. The IRS agents carry weapons to insure against any resistance to this process. It can be quite scary. Do not let this happen to you. If you have IRS problems, contact our office so that we may assist you in finding a better resolution.
Of course, the IRS does not have to get a court’s permission to seize a taxpayer’s property if it is in a public area. The IRS can decide on its own merits to seize property from a taxpayer by using its own personnel. The IRS does not have to go through a “judicial due process” unless the property to be seized is in a private area (i.e., assets inside a home). Some modifications to standards have been made due to the passage of the IRSRRA legislation of 1998. The IRS can no longer seize a taxpayer’s principal residence without a court order. As well, the 1998 legislation gives some recourse to the taxpayer to ask for “judicial relief” before the seizure occurs.
In cases where the IRS does need to obtain a court order, you (the taxpayer) are not entitled to representation at such a hearing. A hearing of this kind only enables the Judge to hear the IRS’ side of the story.
If you have an IRS problem that you think might ultimately involve a seizure by the IRS, contact our office immediately for IRS help to stop this event from occurring.