What You Need To Know If You Received IRS Notice LT16 To Prevent An IRS Levy.
Getting a notice in the mail from IRS usually causes much anxiety. After all the IRS has the power on its own to implement enforcement action which can include seizing your assets or wages. Enforcement action could also include the filing of a notice of federal tax lien, which could affect your credit score and ability to borrow.
What Is So Special About IRS Notice LT16?
Look for the code or letter type in the upper right corner on the first page of your IRS Notice. If it shows that this a Notice LT16, keep in mind that there is not an IRS agent likely assigned to your case. It actually is a notice generated automatically by the IRS computers. Any immediate levy action is determined by the success of the IRS computer in trying to find information about your income from any W2 and 1099 information that has been reported by third parties. Alternatively, your case could be assigned to a Revenue Officer who could promptly commence with enforcement action. Revenue Officers are the highest level IRS collection agents, work in your locale, and often start a collection case investigation by making a visit to your home or office.
What you need to do to avoid enforcement action:
- Read your notice carefully: Following the instructions on your notice may stop enforcement action.
- File missing tax returns (if any): If your notice indicates you have missing tax returns, file the missing returns as soon as possible.
- If you can pay the unpaid balance in full, make payment: Interest and applicable penalties will stop being added as soon as you pay your balance in full.
- If you cannot pay the full amount due: Pay as much as you can now and set up an installment agreement for the remaining balance. You must be current on your filings in order to apply for an installment agreement.
If you already have an approved installment agreement, then continue making payments per that agreement. Payments on your balance can take up to 21 days to post on your account so if you paid your balance in full within the last 21 days, you should be able to disregard the LT16 you received.
If You Cannot Pay in Full Now
Paying what you can now will reduce the amount of interest and applicable penalties added to the remaining balance in the future; however, it will not stop the IRS from taking enforcement action unless a formal plan is put in place. It would be in your best interest to first meet with a tax attorney to determine whether there are any further benefits to pay selected IRS liabilities and/or making a down payment that will bring the total balance owed to a level that qualifies for any one of the special programs offered by the IRS.
In some circumstances you may qualify for a status with IRS of marking your account as “currently not collectible” thus temporarily delaying collection action until your financial condition improves. Putting your account in currently not collectible status does not stop penalties and interest from being charged and it does not mean the debt goes away; it means the IRS has determined you cannot afford to pay any of the debt at this time. Because at some point in the future the IRS could resurrect collection action, many taxpayers prefer to seek permanent relief. An Offer In Compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. This may be a legitimate option if you cannot pay your full tax liability, or doing so creates a financial hardship. It would be in your best interest to meet with a tax attorney to determine whether you qualify as the IRS makes it very difficult for taxpayers to successfully get approval of an Offer In Compromise.
Penalties And Interest
The IRS charges penalties on your account when you do not pay your tax in full by the return due date (usually April 15), or if you’ve not made sufficient estimated tax payments (if required). Interest on the total amount you owe generally begins being charged daily from the return due date. If you do not pay in full (even if you have a pending or approved installment agreement) by the payment due date specified in any notice issued to you, additional interest and applicable penalties will continue to be added until you pay your balance in full. You may qualify for relief from penalties if you made an effort to comply with the requirements of the law, but were unable to meet your tax obligations, due to circumstances beyond your control. The IRS refers to this as having “reasonable cause”. It would be in your best interest to meet with a tax attorney to determine whether you qualify as the IRS makes it very difficult for taxpayers to successfully get abatement of penalties.
Your Appeal Rights
If the tax balance is in doubt, you dispute the amount of the tax, or cannot resolve a disagreement with the IRS, generally you are entitled to a hearing with the Office of Appeals. It is important that you take advantage of this option as your situation can then be evaluated by a Settlement Officer who is independent of IRS Collections. Knowing how to best present such cases in appeal, we have much success in reaching resolution with this Office. Since there is a short window to file an appeal (usually 30 days from the date of the Notice LT16), it would be in your best interest to meet with a tax attorney as soon as possible.
What Should You Do?
You should think of the IRS Notice LT16 as a heads-up that the IRS is getting ready to start collection enforcement and that during this period before that action starts you get proactive to come up with plan so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), San Diego County (Carlsbad) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. And if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.