Can the IRS Take My Bank Account? Understanding IRS Bank Levies and Asset Seizures

The fear of the IRS seizing your bank account can be overwhelming. As an Illinois tax attorney, I understand the anxiety associated with the possibility of an IRS bank levy. In this blog post, I’ll provide clear insights into when the IRS can take your bank account, explain the process of an IRS bank levy, and offer essential strategies to safeguard your assets and resolve your tax issues effectively.

Can the IRS Take My Bank Account?

Yes, under certain circumstances, the IRS can take your bank account to satisfy unpaid tax debts. This action is known as an IRS bank levy. However, it’s important to note that the IRS must follow specific procedures and guidelines before seizing your bank account.

Understanding the IRS Bank Levy Process

  1. Notice of Intent to Levy: The IRS will typically send you a Notice of Intent to Levy, giving you a final opportunity to resolve your tax debt or enter into a payment arrangement.
  2. Levy Issuance: If you fail to address your tax debt within the specified timeframe, the IRS can issue a levy, which freezes your bank account(s) and allows them to withdraw funds to cover your outstanding tax liability.
  3. Bank Notification: Once the levy is issued, the IRS will send a notice to your bank, directing them to freeze the funds in your account(s) up to the amount of your tax debt.

How Do I Protect My Bank Account and Resolve Tax Issues?

  1. Seek Professional Guidance: Consult with an experienced tax attorney who can analyze your situation, explore your options, and guide you through the process of resolving your tax issues. They can help you negotiate with the IRS and explore alternatives such as installment agreements, offers in compromise, or hardship considerations.
  2. Communicate with the IRS: Open lines of communication with the IRS are essential. Contact them promptly upon receiving a Notice of Intent to Levy and explore possible resolutions or payment arrangements.
  3. Payment Options and Negotiation: Consider entering into an installment agreement with the IRS, allowing you to make monthly payments towards your tax debt. Alternatively, if you are unable to pay the full amount, you may qualify for an offer in compromise, which allows you to settle your debt for less than the total owed.
  4. Financial Hardship Considerations: If the levy is causing extreme financial hardship, you may be eligible for a temporary delay in collection efforts. Your tax attorney can assist in presenting your case and providing the necessary documentation to support your hardship claim.
  5. Bank Account Protection Strategies: To safeguard your bank account from an IRS levy, consider these strategies:

a. Keep Accurate Records: Maintain meticulous records of your finances, including income, expenses, and tax returns. This documentation will be crucial in negotiations with the IRS.

b. Separate Business and Personal Accounts: If you operate a business, keep your business and personal bank accounts separate. This separation can help protect your personal funds from being seized for business tax liabilities.

c. Timely Tax Filings: Ensure that you file your tax returns accurately and on time. Compliance with tax obligations demonstrates your willingness to resolve your tax issues and may improve your negotiation position with the IRS.

d. Seek Professional Tax Planning: Engage a tax attorney who can help you navigate the complex tax landscape, ensure compliance, and minimize the risk of IRS collection actions. By implementing proactive tax planning strategies, you can reduce the chances of encountering IRS bank levies.


While the IRS does have the power to seize your bank account under certain circumstances, understanding the process and seeking professional guidance can help protect your assets and resolve your tax issues effectively. By consulting with an experienced tax attorney, exploring payment options, maintaining open communication with the IRS, and implementing bank account protection strategies, you can navigate the challenges associated with an IRS bank levy. Remember, taking proactive steps and seeking professional help are crucial in safeguarding your financial stability and finding a resolution that works for you.