The Truth Behind IRS Lien, Levy, and Seizure
by Thomas F. Adams
© Common Law Copyright, 1997
This page is about your Rights. Your Rights are inalienable (you can't be separated from them) unless you give them away voluntarily. Reading this page will not guarantee your Rights, nor will it provide a magic remedy which stops the IRS in it's tracks. When used properly, this page provides valuable information which should help the IRS obey the law. You can stop the IRS from taking your property (or get it back) but it takes work and study.
The price we pay for liberty is constant, never ceasing vigilance. If you're looking for easy answers, silver bullets, magic remedies, you are in the wrong place. People end up in trouble by following the advice of an expert who has a silver bullet remedy. I have studied this subject for years and have come to one conclusion. The successful people invariably became their own experts. You should also plan to become an expert. This is a good place to start.
Disclaimer - I do not condone the violation of any law nor the committing of any illegal act by any person. Within these pages I exercise my Constitutional Rights of free speech, press and redress. Although I recognize my Right to take part in the celebrated American practice of protest, I am not a tax protester. These pages assert that the IRS, a quasi-governmental agency, must obey the same laws as any private corporation when attempting to collect a debt. (See the Clearfield Doctrine) These pages help promote legal compliance by the IRS, nothing more, nothing less. In this sense these pages were created in a celebration of law, not the protest of it. The information contained herein is not tax or legal advice and can not be used as such. We strongly urge people to take this information to competent attorneys for verification, advice, or action.
For fast, basic tax information, go to In a Nutshell
A note about tangents.
Keep it simple. Most tax issues can be reduced into two questions:
If you are not liable for the income tax it makes no difference what amount the IRS says you owe or what rules the IRS tries to impose on you. If the IRS is trying to impose the income tax on you, but your not liable, your Rights are being violated.
The three rules of solid study!
The Constitution and the Law
The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the Constitution.
The Bill of Rights is the protector of our fundamental Rights. If you do not know your Rights thoroughly, click here. The Bill of Rights makes specific references to property seizure four times. The Bill of Rights speaks to due process of law eighteen times. I mention the numbers so you can answer the following questions with some certainty.
Is filing mandatory? The answer is found in the Fifth Amendment.
The fifth amendment clearly says nobody may be compelled to be a witness against himself in any criminal proceeding. The Supreme Court has ruled that nobody may be compelled to be a witness against himself in ANY proceedings, criminal or civil.
[The fifth amendment] "applies alike to criminal and civil proceedings." McCarthy v. Arndstein, 266 US. 34
The courts have also ruled that filing an income tax return causes you to become a witness as used by the fifth amendment.
"There can be no question that one who files a return under oath is a witness within the meaning of the Amendment." Sullivan v. United States, 15 F. 2nd 809
"The information revealed in the preparation and filing of an income tax return is, for Fifth Amendment analysis, the testimony of a "witness" as that term is used herein." Garner v. United States, 424 US. 648.
If you don't file a return there can be no assessment; without an assessment there can be no liability; without a liability there can be no lien, levy or seizure.
Can the IRS seize property with no more than a notice? Not according to the Clearfield Doctrine!
When working within commerce (collections), the IRS is specifically tied to the same laws as any private firm.
"When governments enter the world of commerce, they are subject to the same burdens as any private firm or corporation." Clearfield Trust Co. v. United States, 318 U.S. 363 - 371; United States v. Burr, 309 U.S. 242
The IRS has no more collection power than Joe's Pawn Shop. Can Joe's Pawn Shop seize your property without taking you to court? What makes you believe the IRS, as opposed to Joe's Pawn Shop, can seize your property without due process when they have the identical restrictions of law?
The code itself speaks to the necessity of court action.
26 IRC §7403. Action to enforce lien or to subject property to payment of tax
(c) Adjudication and decree: The court shall, after the parties have been duly notified of the action, proceed to adjudicate all matters involved therein and finally determine the merits of all claims to and liens upon the property.
Internal Revenue manuals prove the IRS must take you to court prior to beginning the levy process:
Internal Revenue Manual, page 57(16), titled "Legal Reference Guide for Revenue Officers" (February 9, 1990): "A proper levy against any amounts held as due and owing by employers, banks, stockholders, etc. must issue from a warrant of distraint and not mere notice."
A warrant of distraint is a court order!
What are your Rights?
To seize property the IRS must prove their case in court.
Has the IRS taken you to court?
Where does the IRS get it's Levy authority?
The IRS gets it's levy authority from IRC §6331. There are many well intentioned people who believe §6331 has as a silver bullet effect. These people believe one sentence in §6331 kills all IRS levy authority, just like one silver bullet kills a werewolf. Let's examine the §6331 silver bullet theory.
The silver bullet crowd have hung their hopes on the second sentence of §6331(a). That sentence reads:
"Levy may be made upon the accrued salary or wages of any officer, employee, or elected official, of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any agency or instrumentality of the United States or the District of Columbia, by serving a notice of levy on the employer (as defined in section 3401(d)) of such officer, employee, or elected official."
I understand why many people construe this to mean the IRS can only levy against federal employees. The sentence seems to imply this, however, the theory is incorrect. The sentence really says the IRS can make a levy against federal employees by serving a notice. The IRS reserved the authority to levy against any person in the first sentence of §6331(a).
"If any person liable to pay any tax neglects or refuses to pay the same within 10 days after notice and demand, it shall be lawful for the Secretary to collect such tax ... by levy ... "
The silver bullet theory loses all credibility in courts of law. Many legal cites can be found where people have made this argument. The IRS reads sentence one of §6331(a) and the judge throws out the theory. I wish the theory were true, but it will not work in court. In my work you'll find the difference between truth and fiction. The Truth Behind IRS Levy and Seizure deals only in provable truth, everything else is discarded.
Section §6331, in spite of itself, has given us some tremendous insight.
1. EMPLOYER. If I asked who employed federal government workers you would say the federal government. Here, in §6331, the code speaks to the federal government sending notice to federal government "employers." Obviously, the federal government recognizes various "employers" within one federal government. The code refers to federal "employers" for one reason. The term confuses the meaning of the word. The Truth Behind IRS Levy and Seizure goes into great detail explaining how the word "employer" confuses millions of people into "volunteering" their property!
2. When you read the first sentence of §6331 carefully, you'll note three major restrictions when levying against a person who is not a federal employee.
The assessment aspect goes far beyond those who have not filed a tax return. No valid assessment can exist even if you do file. The reasons are well beyond the scope of this web page, but are thoroughly covered in The Truth Behind IRS Levy and Seizure.
It seems the silver bullet crowd found an important sentence, but for the wrong reasons.
Have you seen a valid assessment signed by the secretary under penalty of perjury?
Notice and Demand
After a valid assessment has been issued, you must receive a Form 17A, Notice and Demand.
26 IRC §6303. Where it is not otherwise provided by this title, the Secretary shall, as soon as practicable, and within 60 days, after the making of an assessment of a tax pursuant to section 6203, give notice to each person liable for the unpaid tax, stating the amount and demanding payment thereof. Such notice shall be left at the dwelling or usual place of business of such person, or shall be sent by mail to such person's last known address.
26 IRC §6321. If any person liable to pay any tax neglects or refuses to pay the same after demand, the amount (including any interest, additional amount, addition to tax, or assessable penalty, together with any costs that may accrue in addition thereto) shall be a lien in favor of the United States upon all property and rights to property, whether real or personal, belonging to such person.
We know a lien can exist ONLY after assessment and demand, not before. What form must the IRS send to make this demand?
Treasury Decision 1995. Assessed Taxes -- Notice and Demand, Form 17 The necessity of issuing Form 17 is twofold - first, to determine the date when 5 per cent penalty accrues and interest at 1 per cent per month begins to run, and, second, to complete the Government's lien on property belonging to the taxpayer.
Have you received a notice and demand? (17A). If you have not, there is NO lien!
If the IRS is attempting to take your home or other property without proper procedure - it is illegal!
Levy authority includes the authority to seize.
Almost everything is subject to levy.
Almost nothing is subject to seizure.
Levy and seizure do not mean the same the thing. Levy is a process, not an act. The levy process begins with the assessment (mentioned above) and continues until the case is closed. Within the levy process the IRS has the authority to seize property. We know this from §7701 and §6331.
26 IRC §7701(a)(21) Levy: "The term 'levy' includes the power of distraint and seizure by any means."
26 IRC §6331(b) Seizure and sale of property: "The term 'levy' as used in this title includes the power of distraint and seizure by any means."
Both sections regarding distraint and seizure contain the curious phrase "by any means." Does this mean the IRS can distrain or seize your property at gunpoint? Gunpoint is certainly included within the phrase "by any means."
The use of the term "by any means" only reinforces the fact the IRS can seize property only by "any" legal "means" at it's disposal. The phrase is placed in the code merely to intimidate you.
Where does the IRS get its authority to seize?
Many people get confused about authorities. We know the authority to levy includes the authority to seize, but as of yet no seizure authority has been given. A non-sensible code could be written like this:
"The authority to levy includes the authority to squeeze people until they are blue."
Obviously the code does not say this, but if it did, there would have to be a "squeeze people until they are blue" authority. The mere mention of authority does not grant authority. We find IRS authority to seize property in sections §7321 and §7608.
Section §7608 is very important. This section divides its authority into two (2) distinct venues. Section (a) speaks to subtitle "E", alcohol, tobacco and firearms. Section (b) speaks to all other Internal Revenue subtitles including income tax. Although the words regarding both sections are similar, in truth they are very different. See how the wording changes between sections.
Subtitle "E" Authority Subtitle "A" Authority Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Income Taxes Note how the wording in the code changes. Code regarding "E" ... changes to .... Code regarding "A" Any investigator ..................... Any criminal investigator. Criminal, seizure and forfeiture ..... Criminal. Carry firearms ....................... Not authorized firearms. Arrests for any US crime ............. Arrests only for IRC crimes. Seize property for any US crime ...... Seize property for IRC crimes.
The differences are subtle, yet important. Assuming you do not operate in the alcohol, tobacco and firearms industry, your investigation:
What is significant about this? If your investigation is criminal in nature, your property may only be seized for the violation of a crime. What is the only venue for proving a crime was committed. You must be given a day in court.
The IRS must:
§7608 proves the IRS cannot simply take your property without due process.
Under the fourth amendment your books and records can't be viewed by anyone (not even the court can order you to give up your books and records) See the "act of production" rules.
Under the fifth amendment you can refuse to answer all questions which might tend to incriminate you, or even create a link to information which might incriminate you.
Under the sixth amendment the court must tell you the nature and cause of each "crime" you have committed, and the court must prove jurisdiction.
The Truth Behind IRS Levy and Seizure gives you the education to hold IRS agents liable for all infractions of law. According to Internal Revenue Manuals, if IRS agents break any law they can be sued for up to $1,000,000 in damages.
Property Subject to Forfeiture
Within the seizure authority sections we find a major restriction to IRS seizure authority. Only property subject to forfeiture may be seized by the IRS. Here are those authorities again (in pertinent part):
§7321: "Any property subject to forfeiture to the United States under any provision of this title may be seized by the Secretary."
§7608 (b)(2)(C) "to make seizures of property subject to forfeiture under the internal revenue laws."
Re-read the first sentence of §6331. You will note all property is subject to levy except such property exempt under §6334. In §6334 you notice almost all your property is subject to levy. We have not included §6334 in this page because it is long, boring, and (basically) says all property is subject to levy. Almost nothing is exempt.
We continue under the presumption all our property (homes, cars and accounts) are subject to levy. We concede this point to the IRS. This is the truth and we never argue against the truth! Here, however, is the one million dollar question.
Is all property subject to levy also subject to forfeiture (seizure)?
The answer is a resounding ... NO!
The IRS can include all your property as subject to levy, but can ONLY seize property subject to forfeiture! Please read §7321 and §7608 again.
Only property subject to forfeiture can be seized. Nothing else!
What property is subject to forfeiture?
In the entire Internal Revenue Code there are only four sections which list property subject to forfeiture.
Internal Revenue Code - Table of Contents ...... Subchapter C - Forfeitures PART I - PROPERTY SUBJECT TO FORFEITURE Sec. 7301. Property subject to tax Sec. 7302. Property used in violation of internal revenue laws Sec. 7303. Other property subject to forfeiture Sec. 7304. Penalty for fraudulently claiming drawback PART II - PROVISIONS COMMON TO FORFEITURES ......There are no other sections which define property the IRS can seize. If your property is not listed in these sections, it can NOT be seized. The list is comprehensive.
Not filing a return is not fraud.
You'll note each section deals with "fraud" against the United States and/or it's laws. For those of you who are being levied against for not filing a 1040, ask yourself why the IRS can not levy fraud penalties against you for failing to file?
1997 Handbook for Tax Preparers, ¶ 4880: "The fraud penalty can be imposed only if a return is filed."
All property listed in these sections is property used in fraud of the alcohol, tobacco and firearms laws, not income tax laws. §7301 confuses many people by sounding as if the IRS can name any activity "fraud" and then take property associated with it, but a careful study of the sections as a whole reveals references which make it impossible to read the property outside of alcohol, tobacco and firearms.
Aside from careful reading, the fact these section only apply to alcohol, tobacco and firearms is proven within the Parallel Table of Authorities. This table shows where the Regulations that implement the code are found. Without the regulations the code has no weight of law. Let's look at the table:
Parallel Table of Authorities Type of Authority IR Code Section CFR Regulation ..... Summons Authority 7602 301.7602 Lien Authority 6321 301.6321 Levy and Distraint 6331-6343 301.6331-301.6343 Assessment Penalty 6671 301.6671 .....
We now look to the index of 26 CFR to find where the Regulation Authorities are found.
26 CFR Index Table I -- Authorities ..... 6321 ............................. 27 Part 70 6331 - 6343 ...................... 27 Part 70 6601 ............................. 27 Part 70 .....
You clearly see that all the authorities for lien, levy and seizure are found in title 27. Title 27 is only Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms!
Knowing the authorities only apply in ATF, let me ask you this question ...
Is your property found in §7301, §7302, §7303 or §7304?
When was subtitle "F" enacted?
Subtitle "F" is where all the enforcement provisions for lien, levy and seizure are located. The code itself makes this statement:
26 IRC §7851(a)(6)(A)
"General Rule. -- The provisions of subtitle F shall take effect on the day after the date of enactment of this title and shall be applicable with respect to any tax imposed by this title."
Has title 26 (the code) been enacted into law? The unbelievable answer is, NO! The whole of title 26 has never been enacted into positive law. On January 14, 1983 (which was written into the the 1982 United States Code) Speaker of the House Thomas O'Neill wrote the following:
"Titles 1, 3, ... 23, 28, ... have been revised, codified, and enacted into positive law and the text thereof is legal evidence of the laws therein contained. The matter contained in the other titles of the Code is prima facie evidence of the laws."
Notice Title 26 is nowhere to be found. You can verify this by looking at the inside cover page of any volume of United States Codes. You'll notice Title 26 is missing the asterisk which indicates the title was enacted into positive law. If the code was never passed into positive law, what is §7851 saying? Here it is again.
26 IRC §7851(a)(6)(A)
"General Rule. -- The provisions of subtitle F shall take effect on the day after the date of enactment of this title and shall be applicable with respect to any tax imposed by this title."
It's saying the codes in 26 IRC are not effective. The codes will not become effective until Title 26 has been enacted into positive law. This does not mean the underlying code is not backed by law. The codes can be used as "prima facia evidence" that a law exists, but are not laws themselves. There is a difference. Taken at face value, however, the code is saying the day after Title 26 is enacted into positive law will be the day the provisions take effect ... not one day sooner!
I write this solely for those of you who wish to research this angle of the law. It is true (and truth is truth) but I would not rely on this information in a court of law. It has a "silver bullet" taste and that always makes me defensive! Your case should be grounded in law. The Truth Behind IRS Levy and Seizure grounds you!
This page has not been intended to teach everything about IRS liens, levies and seizures. My hope is you now understand that your property (unless you are breaking the alcohol, tobacco and firearms laws) is not subject to seizure.
If you've lost property in the past, are losing property now, or are about to lose property, you can legally stop the IRS. Most attorneys, accountants and IRS agents will say it is impossible to stop a levy, but they are wrong. Here are some interesting things the courts have said about people and their attorneys:
"We must note here, as matter of judicial knowledge, that most lawyers have only scant knowledge of the tax laws." Bursten v. US, 395 f 2d 976, 981 (5th. Cir., 1968)"Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because of their respect for what only appears to be law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their rights due to ignorance." U.S. vs. Minker, 350 U.S. 179 at 187
The Truth Behind IRS Levy and Seizure will help educate your attorney. After reading it he will be prepared to "fight the good fight." Use it as an educational tool. It delves deeply into the code, tears it to pieces, shines the light of truth on it, and exposes IRS fraud and abuse. It gives details of how people have stopped the IRS from illegally taking property and shows you how to do the same.
You have Constitutional Rights. If you don't use them, you will lose them. This book shows you how to find the liberty you've lost!
Each copy of The Truth Behind IRS Levy and Seizure is $59.00
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About the author:
Thomas Adams was born and raised in upstate New York and is now domiciled in rural North Carolina with his wife, two daughters and two sons. After leaving the military, where he flung himself from airplanes as a paratrooper, Mr. Adams became involved in what he calls the Truth Movement. His devotion is directed toward his God, family, country, and the search for truth. He seeks the truth to fulfill his unyielding devotion to his military oath, to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. He is fond of saying "all time in service ends, but oaths never do." His hope is one day all Americans shall know the freedom and liberty for which the founders of this nation blazed a path. His work attempts to insure that realization.