How to Release an IRS Levy: Remove Federal Tax Levy

how to release an IRS levy

Once the IRS starts to levy your assets, the agency will continue to take assets until the taxes are paid in full. However, there are other ways to release an IRS levy. The method you choose depends on your personal tax and financial situation. Here are some options for levies in general. If you are facing an IRS wage garnishment, here are some specific ways of stopping an IRS wage garnishment.. 

  • Pay the IRS in Full

    This is the fastest way to get the IRS to release a tax levy. If you pay your taxes in full, the IRS will stop all collection activity immediately. However, most people only get into this situation because they can’t afford to pay their taxes in full. If you’re in that boat, you may want to consider a payment plan or a tax settlement if you qualify.

  • File for an Offer in Compromise

    An offer in compromise is when you settle your taxes for less. The exact settlement amount varies based on your personal finances, and the IRS wants the highest settlement it can possibly get. This option requires a lot of paperwork, and to be successful, you should work with a professional. This is not an immediate option to lifting a tax levy once it is in place as it takes time to prepare the paperwork and for the IRS to review it.

  • Enter into IRS Payment Plan

    Setting up an Installment Agreement is also a fast way to have your IRS tax levy released.  You agree to make regular monthly payments to the IRS. You can set up a payment agreement after the IRS has started to take your assets, but it’s best to try to set one up before that happens.

  • Expiration of Statute of Limitations

    Generally, the IRS only has 10 years to collect taxes owed. After that time period, the tax owed expires. If you can make it to the collection statute expiration date (CSED), the IRS cannot legally collect on the taxes owed anymore and must remove the levy. However, waiting until the taxes owed expires usually is not an easy option. The IRS also has an eye on the expiration date, and the agency will collect aggressively before that date hits.

  • Prove Financial Hardship

    If you can prove that the tax levy is causing extreme financial hardship, you may be able to get the agency to release the levy and pause collection activity. The IRS has a strict definition of financial hardship. Essentially, you have to prove that if the IRS takes your assets you won’t be able to meet basic living expenses. Basic living expenses are set at the national level for food, clothing, and other items whereas local standards determine mortgage/rent, property taxes, insurance, gas, electric, phone service, and so forth. You can read more about Collection Financial Standards here.  At that point, the IRS marks your account as “uncollectible.” The agency temporarily pauses collection activity and revisits the situation in the future.

  • File for Bankruptcy

    When you file for bankruptcy, the courts issue a “stay”. That requires all creditors including the IRS to stop collection activity. Bankruptcy may wipe out some tax liabilities, but it depends on the age of the taxes, the types of taxes, and the bankruptcy chapter. You should only take this step in severe situations because it has a lasting impact on your credit score.

Get Help to Release an IRS Tax Levy

A tax levy is the IRS’s harshest collection mechanism. If the IRS is levying your assets, a tax professional can help you get back on track. They know how to deal with the IRS, and they can point you toward the best solution for your situation. To find the best tax professionals to help with an IRS tax levy, start your search below. Select the agency or agencies involved and then under problems, select tax levy and view the pros with experience helping with this tax problem.


Find & Evaluate Licensed Tax Professionals to Solve Your Tax Issues

Select Tax Agency/Agencies

Find & Evaluate Licensed Tax Professionals to Solve Your Tax Issues

Select Tax Agency/Agencies