The I.R.S. Sends Me Threatening Letters

Following the same pattern as , the IRS followed up on its “you have an amount due” letter with an “Urgent!! We intend to levy on certain assets. Please respond NOW” letter (a CP-504) — certified mail with my signature demanded on delivery, and full of fire-and-brimstone threats in boldface.

The letter also includes an accounting of how much I didn’t pay last year, and the latest interest and penalties on that amount. There’s nothing in the letter about amounts I still haven’t paid from previous years. They seem to mostly operate by pursuing each year in duplicate, parallel efforts rather than trying to gather the amounts into a single, coordinated dossier.

They also sent me a copy of Notice 1219-B (“Notice of Potential Third Party Contact”) which says that they “may contact other persons, such as a neighbor, bank, employer or employees” if they “need information that the taxpayer has been unable to provide, or to verify information we have received,” and a copy of Publication 594 (“The IRS Collection Process”).

In 2006, the letter turned out to be an empty (or at least, premature) threat. I didn’t hear anything more from them until (and that was only about the following year’s unpaid taxes). They didn’t get around to trying to accomplish a levy until , more than a year after the “Urgent!!” notice.