IRS Certified Mail due to back taxes? Time to act

IRS Certified Mail and its Possible Meanings

This review is about IRS certified mail and the questions that surround it.  The short version is this:  If you owe IRS back taxes and you are receiving IRS certified mail, it’s time to act.  Now.  Read the questions and answers to learn more about what the IRS’ intentions are when you start to receive the orange slips in your mailbox that represent IRS certified mail.

As usual, If you like the tone of this writing, email us further questions at  Please contact irs back tax help.  Before you email, please read about irs back tax help.

IRS Certified Mail, LT11, IRS Letter 1058, IRS Form 668y, Final Notice of Intent to Levy, and Notice of Federal Tax Lien

We have received a slew of emails about IRS certified mail and what it means.  Answers are below:  

Q:  I’ve broken an IRS payment arrangement (IRS installment agreement), now I’m getting certified mail from the IRS.  What should I do?

A:  The first step is communication after you have received IRS certified mail.  If you have defaulted an installment agreement, simply call the Revenue Officer and ask to reinstate it.  If you cannot get the installment agreement reinstatement done, it is time to consider getting some help for your back taxes.  

The other question is this:  Why did you default the installment agreement?  

If you were in an IRS installment agreement, and you could not afford it, it is usually because you did not think you had any options to solve your tax problem other than what the IRS offers you.  You do.  There is always a reasonable solution to these tax problems.  If you could not get an IRS installment agreement that you could afford in the first place, it means you don’t know what you don’t know.  It does not mean you are dumb, it means you are inexperienced in these matters going up against a highly trained collection agent.  You can balance those scales by getting IRS back tax help.  

Q:  Do I need representation for an IRS Final Notice of Intent to Levy letter delivered via IRS certified mail?  (IRS letter 1058, LT11)

A:  Yes.  That is not a popular answer, but it is probably true.  If the IRS collection efforts have gotten to the point where they are threatening to seize property or bank accounts through levy, it truly means you are losing control of the situation.  The IRS Final Notice of Intent to Levy means business, and as it is worded, it is the final notice.  They are at the gates.  The threat of IRS seizure can be nullified, but you must take action.  If you have already experienced an IRS bank levy, or garnishment, you now need help.  You can get an IRS bank levy returned to you, but you must act quickly and forcefully to make that happen.  

Q:  I owe back taxes, and I’m now receiving IRS certified mail.  How much time do I have before they levy?

A:  If you have received more than one certified letter from the IRS, note the date of the first letter.  The key is the date on the IRS certified letter itself, not the date it was received or picked up (signed for, more on that later.)  In the IRS Letter 1058 “Final Notice of Intent to Levy” it says you have 30 days to act or be under threat of seizure.  You must respect this.  If you are approaching day 30 and have taken no steps to protect yourself, maintain a very low financial profile.  The IRS could take seizure action on day 31 or day 331, but it will be you that is trying to repair employee and client relationships when checks start to bounce.  

Q:  I’ve received certified mail from the IRS, should I worry about perjury?

A:  Odd question.  Perjury typically comes into play with the IRS Collection Information Statement (IRS Form 433a or IRS Form 433b)  Maybe they meant when they file a Collection Due Process Appeal (CDP) (IRS Form 12153)  Perjury isn’t really an issue with IRS certified mail, but don’t make things up.  Make sure you file a CDP within the first 30 days to prevent an IRS bank levy prior to the hearing.  If you have representation, and you have had an IRS levy or garnishment, check and see if a Collection Due Process Appeal was filed.  If they cannot produce the CDP appeal with a verified date, that is a red flag that you are not being taken care of properly.  Get a second opinion (that’s a hint!) if that has happened.  

Q:  How many IRS certified letters or notices is one given prior to IRS tax liens?

A:  No IRS certified mail is required prior to the IRS filing a federal tax lien.  If you are receiving IRS certified mail prior to a tax lien, it is probably an IRS letter 1058, Final Notice of Intent to Levy.  Which is worse because your assets become exposed to seizure.  Time to get moving.  

Q:  I owe $15000 in back taxes, received an IRS certified letter, what now?

A:  Time to take action, but don’t hire anyone, yet.  If you owe under $50k to the IRS I always encourage people to try to tackle the IRS tax problem on their own first.  Read:   Owe IRS taxes? When, who, and how to hire back tax help to find out if you should hire IRS back tax help. 

Q:  I’ve received an IRS certified letter Final Notice of Intent to Levy, will they really seize my property?

A:  Yes.  The IRS can and will seize a home, bank account, 401k, property, anything with equity to solve the IRS back tax problem.  I’m amazed at how many people I talk to do not take this threat seriously until it is too late.  They send these IRS Letter 1058s (aka LT11) out when they mean business.  IRS bank levies, and IRS wage garnishments occur thousands of times a day.  They have no problem damaging your relationships with spouses, employers, employees, clients, and anyone else these seizures can affect.  

Q:  What letters and notices does the IRS send certified?

A:  The IRS certified mail is something you must take seriously.  They send them certified for a reason.  A clock is ticking and they have deadlines with them.  No one likes to get letters from the IRS, but force yourself to pick up those letters, open them, and read them.  Twice.  Better the devil you know…  You must plan your defense when IRS certified mail starts to arrive.  Typically the letters sent via IRS certified mail are the IRS Final Notice of Intent to Levy, (IRS Letter 1058, LT11) and the IRS Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing (IRS Form 668y.) 

Q:  What do I do if an IRS Federal Tax Lien (IRS Form 668y) was filed but I didn’t sign certified notice?

A:  The same thing you do if you did sign for it.  The IRS is only required by law to attempt to notify you.  Old address? Doesn’t matter.  Out of town?  Doesn’t matter.  This is one of the reasons it is so important to have someone represent you.  If you hire the right IRS back tax help, they will not miss those letters, and they will not let bad things happen to you.  The bottom line is IRS certified mail means things are rapidly getting out of control, and you need to do something.  Whether it’s taking action on your own or hiring someone to help.  IRS back tax problems only get worse the longer they go unattended.  

Not happy with IRS back tax results?  

If you feel like you are on the wrong side of all these statistics with IRS certified mail, it is probably worth seeking a second opinion.  If you would like irs back tax help to be your first or second opinion, we can be reached at  We do not pressure people in an already stressful situation.


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  1. I have a revenue officer who promised that she would not levy after I received a “final notice of intent to levy” and then she did. I told her I was receiving an initial payment for a new job. And she took advantage of that information. Can she do that?

    • CBR,
      Thanks for posting a question. You could be up against one of two things:

      1. She may really not have known that the IRS Automated Collection System (ACS) had issued an IRS Letter 1058, Final Notice of Intent to Levy, and the resulting IRS Form 668, Notice of Levy. You can fight to have that money returned to you if it was destined for payroll or critical business needs. You have 21 days from the day it was taken to get it returned to you.

      2. She knew and she levied your account on purpose. Now you know her true intentions. You can still get this money returned to you as well. If she did it, the first question is “why?”. Have you missed deadlines with her? Has she acted aggressively in the past? If she did it on purpose, to answer your question directly, yes, she can levy your bank account as long as she has followed IRS procedure correctly in regard to the Letter 1058, Final Notice of Intent to Levy, and waited the appropriate amount of time. They often do this. Whether they seem nice or mean, they are collection agents, and they have money goals to hit just like any collection agent.

      Either way, you are in a tough position. When an IRS bank levy occurs, it means you have lost control of the situation and the IRS is now controlling how you use your money for your business. That does not pass the “common sense” test. Regardless of how you got to this point, it’s time to get representation or get new representation.

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