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Published: October 29, 2020   |   Last Updated: October 26, 2022

Levy Relief

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Station Overview

If you have an unpaid tax debt, the IRS may have issued a levy, which is a lawful seizure of your property or assets (such as funds from a bank account, Social Security benefits, wages, your car, or your home).  IRS can release a levy in some circumstances.  If the IRS denies your request to release the levy, you may appeal this decision.  You may appeal before or after the IRS places a levy on your wages, bank account, or other property.  After the levy proceeds have been sent to the IRS, you may file a claim to have them returned to you. You may also appeal the denial by the IRS of your request to have levied property returned to you. If a levy has been issued that attaches to your property or assets, you can request relief from the IRS in some circumstances before the IRS takes possession of your property, or to have the funds or the property returned.

This notice or letter may include additional topics that have not yet been covered here. Please check back frequently for updates.

What does this mean to me?

You have an unpaid tax debt and the IRS has issued a levy, which is a legal seizure of your property or assets. It is different from a lien — while a lien makes a claim to your assets as security for a tax debt, the levy seizes your property (such as funds from a bank account, Social Security benefits, wages, your car, or your home). It also could mean that you have requested the IRS to return funds levied, and your request has been rejected. For specifics, see Levies and Publication 1660.

How did I get here?

The IRS has issued a levy to collect a tax debt.  You may owe the tax debt, or another person or entity may owe the tax debt.

What are my next steps?

The first thing to do is to check the return address to be sure the letter or notice is from the Internal Revenue Service and not another agency or a scammer.  You can search notices and letters by number at IRS.gov.

If the levy is from the IRS, and your property or federal payments are seized, call the number on your levy notice or 1-800-829-1040.  If you’re already working with and IRS employee, call him or her for assistance.  Be prepared to propose an alternative way to pay your taxes, if you owe the tax debt.

Depending on the circumstances, your relief options can vary:

  1. Wrongful Levy – When a levy has attached to your property, but you don’t owe any tax.
  2. Levy Release – When you owe tax and a levy has attached to your property, and the funds have not been applied to your tax balance or your property has not yet been sold.
  3. Return of Levy Proceeds – When you owe tax and a levy has attached to your property, and the funds have been applied to your tax balance or your property has been sold.

Please note that there are time limits associated with each type of request.

Where can I get additional help?

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If you still need help

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayers’ rights. We can offer you help if your tax problem is causing a financial difficulty, you’ve tried and been unable to resolve your issue with the IRS, or you believe an IRS system, process, or procedure just isn’t working as it should. If you qualify for our assistance, which is always free, we will do everything possible to help you.

Visit www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov or call 1-877-777-4778.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS and TAS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS. LITCs can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. In addition, LITCs can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. For more information or to find an LITC near you, see the LITC page on the TAS website or Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

Related IRS Forms and Mailings

    • Form 668-A, Notice of Levy
    • Form 668-B, Levy
    • Form 668-D, Release of Levy / Release of Property from Levy
    • Form 668-E, Release of Levy
    • Form 668-W, Notice of Levy on Wages, Salary, and Other Income
    • Form 2433, Notice of Seizure
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