IRS Debt Collectors: Do’s and Don’ts for Protecting Your Assets

Face the music... You've tried everything to deal with your debt to the IRS. You've defaulted on a payment plan. You were turned down for an Offer in Compromise. The IRS is geared up to lean on you hard. And since you can't pay them with money, they're lined up outside your door to take your stuff. What can you do?

Efforts in futility... During my years with the IRS, I oversaw numerous collection actions. And people will do some insane things to keep their stuff from getting seized. But here's a secret I want to share with you... the IRS will find anything and everything you have. Make no mistake, no matter how clever you think you are, you're dealing with the most powerful and experienced collection agency in the country. There is no trick they haven't seen.

Stop and think... But since you're at this stage of debt collection, and you're stuffing your valuables under the floorboards, I want to try to help you out, so you'll at least have a bed to sleep in. But first, I want to share some of the things people have done to try and avoid the IRS.

One guy had more junk than you could imagine. He was the classic over-spender, living way above his means. I mean he had motorcycles, jet skies... the works. But here's what he was doing. He was giving friends of his the money, and they were buying these luxury items under their names. He was sure we couldn't touch his toys. He was wrong.

Another guy actually buried his stuff in the back yard. We get suspicious when we visit your home once, and then the next time the TV, stereo, etc. are missing.

Some people have actually destroyed their stuff rather than let us seize them.

In case you haven't figured it out, these are all examples of what not to do.

Is there no end? So what are you supposed to do? I know you don't want to hear that you should cooperate and just let IRS collectors load up your belongings into trucks. But that's pretty much what you should do. The agents are already at your home, they know what you have, and they're going to get it. And they have pretty wide discretion on how they conduct the seizure. Being cooperative can get you some leniency, but throwing a tantrum will have them loading your kitchen sink.

Back to basics... That's not all you can do. If you can prove to the IRS that any of your assets are necessary for your basic living or for your job, then they can't seize those items, although there are limits to what you can claim as "necessary."

Now you have the smoking gun... Use it!