What to Do When You Receive an IRS Final Notice

What to Do When You Receive an IRS Final Notice

Getting an IRS Final Notice of Intent to Levy (Notice LT11 or LT39) in the mail can be scary and stressful. This is the agency’s last warning before taking your money or property to satisfy an unpaid tax debt. However, you still have some options at this stage to prevent enforced collection action. Here’s what to do:

Don’t Panic

The Final Notice doesn’t mean all hope is lost. The IRS must follow set procedures before levying bank accounts or garnishing wages. You have a short window to take action and avoid enforced collection.

Call the IRS Immediately

As soon as you receive the Final Notice, call the number listed. Have your tax information ready, including notice numbers, tax periods, and the amount owed. Simply calling and getting a case opened can buy you some extra time while you explore resolution options.

Request a Brief Extension

On the call, you can request a brief pause on collections, generally 30-60 days. Explain that you need time to explore options for paying what you owe. A momentary halt on enforced collections gives you breathing room to make a plan.

Consider an Installment Agreement

One way to prevent levies or garnishments is to set up a monthly payment plan with the IRS. If you can’t pay the total amount you owe right away, you may qualify for an installment agreement. Establishing a monthly payment based on your income and assets prevents enforced collections as long as you make the minimum payments on time.

Request Relief as a Last Resort

If you legitimately cannot pay the tax debt due to financial hardship, you can request temporarily delaying collection or an Offer in Compromise to settle for less than owed. However, the IRS strictly evaluates qualifications and requires substantiating documentation.

The key message is that receiving the Final Notice does not mean all is lost. As long as you take prompt action and demonstrate a willingness to resolve the debt through available payment options, you may be able to avoid the IRS garnishing your wages or seizing your property or bank funds. The worst mistake is doing nothing after getting the Final Notice.

If you need help resolving your tax debt, schedule a call with me today to learn about your options.