How to Get a Tax Levy Release

A tax levy can be a significant financial burden, as it allows the IRS to seize your assets to satisfy a tax debt. Getting a tax levy released is crucial to regaining control of your finances. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the steps and strategies to get a tax levy release and ensure compliance with IRS regulations.

Understanding Tax Levies

A tax levy is a legal seizure of your property to satisfy a tax debt. It can affect your wages, bank accounts, social security benefits, and other assets. The IRS typically issues a levy after multiple attempts to collect the debt through other means have failed.

Reasons for a Tax Levy

  • Unpaid Taxes: Failure to pay your taxes on time.
  • Ignored Notices: Ignoring IRS notices and demands for payment.
  • No Payment Arrangement: Not setting up a payment arrangement with the IRS.

Steps to Get a Tax Levy Release

1. Understand the Notice

The IRS will send you a Notice of Intent to Levy and Your Right to a Hearing (IRS Form CP90 or Letter 1058) at least 30 days before the levy. This notice is a crucial document that outlines the amount you owe and your rights.


  • Read Carefully: Understand the notice and the deadline for action.
  • Respond Promptly: Do not ignore the notice; respond before the deadline.

2. Contact the IRS

Contacting the IRS promptly can help you understand your options and begin the process of getting a levy release. You can reach out by phone or mail as indicated in the notice.


  • Prepare Information: Have your tax records, notice, and any correspondence with the IRS ready.
  • Be Polite: Stay calm and polite when communicating with IRS representatives.

3. Pay Your Tax Debt

The most straightforward way to get a tax levy released is to pay your tax debt in full. If you can pay the amount owed, the IRS will release the levy.


  • Payment Methods: Use direct debit, credit card, or a bank transfer for quicker processing.
  • Confirmation: Ensure you receive confirmation from the IRS that the levy has been released.

4. Set Up a Payment Plan

If you cannot pay the full amount, you can negotiate a payment plan with the IRS. This can stop the levy and allow you to pay your debt over time.

Types of Payment Plans:

  • Installment Agreement: Allows you to pay off your debt in monthly installments.
  • Partial Payment Installment Agreement (PPIA): A more flexible plan for those unable to pay the full amount.


  • Online Application: Apply for an installment agreement online through the IRS website.
  • Keep Up Payments: Ensure you make all payments on time to avoid reinstatement of the levy.

5. Submit an Offer in Compromise

An Offer in Compromise (OIC) allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount owed. This option is available if you can prove that paying the full amount would cause financial hardship.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Inability to Pay: You must demonstrate that you cannot pay the full amount.
  • Financial Situation: The IRS will evaluate your income, expenses, assets, and overall ability to pay.


  • Complete Forms: Submit IRS Form 656 (Offer in Compromise) and Form 433-A (Collection Information Statement).
  • Provide Documentation: Include detailed financial documentation to support your claim.

6. Request a Collection Due Process (CDP) Hearing

If you receive a levy notice, you have the right to request a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing within 30 days. This hearing allows you to appeal the levy and present your case to an independent officer.


  • Submit Form 12153: Complete and submit IRS Form 12153 (Request for a Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing) before the deadline.
  • Prepare Your Case: Gather all relevant documentation and be prepared to explain your situation.

7. Demonstrate Financial Hardship

If the levy causes significant financial hardship, you can request a levy release by demonstrating your financial difficulties to the IRS.


  • Complete Form 433-A: Submit IRS Form 433-A (Collection Information Statement) to provide details of your financial situation.
  • Provide Proof: Include documentation such as bank statements, bills, and proof of income and expenses.

Additional Tips for Handling a Tax Levy

1. Seek Professional Help

Navigating the tax levy process can be complex. Consider hiring a tax professional, such as a tax attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent, to help you negotiate with the IRS and explore your options.


  • Research Credentials: Choose a professional with experience in IRS negotiations and tax levies.
  • Get Recommendations: Ask for recommendations from trusted sources.

2. Stay Compliant

Ensure you remain compliant with all tax filings and payments while resolving your levy. Filing late returns or missing payments can complicate the process and lead to further penalties.


  • File on Time: Always file your tax returns on time, even if you cannot pay the full amount owed.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with any correspondence from the IRS.


Getting a tax levy release is essential to regain financial control and avoid further complications. By understanding the process, contacting the IRS promptly, and exploring all available options, you can effectively resolve your tax issues. Whether through paying the debt, setting up a payment plan, submitting an Offer in Compromise, or demonstrating financial hardship, taking proactive steps will help you achieve a levy release and secure your financial future.

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