I.R.C. Section 6320
Federal Tax liens may remain in place where a taxpayer’s liability during her installment agreement period is above the amount the IRS requires in the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM), the U.S. Tax Court ruled in Jill Beth Savedoff v. Comm’r of Internal Revenue, filed August 31, 2020 at Docket No. 4346-18L. The taxpayer created liabilities from self-employment on two different tax periods. She established a payment agreement, but defaulted. The IRS filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL). The taxpayer filed a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing request on the basis that her installment agreement was wrongfully terminated and the lien notice was not properly served. Apparently, the taxpayer moved and did not receive a notice of the filing of the lien. The Court ruled that the taxpayer did not provide the IRS with a clear and concise notification of a different address. As for the lien withdrawal, the Court reviewed the guidelines allowing for the withdrawal of a NFTL. The taxpayer essentially argues that the lien should have been withdrawn if a second installment agreement was established. Both the Tax Court and Treasury Regulations provide that nothing requires the IRS to withdraw the NFTL because of the establishment of an installment agreement. While there are provisions to withdraw the NFTL if the balance is less than $25,000 and the taxpayer establishes a direct debit installment agreement, the taxpayer in this situation simply owed more and when offered to establish a direct debit installment agreement, passed on that option.
The United States Tax Court in Martin Washington Brown v. Comm’r, Docket No. 8999-17L, filed December 9, 2019, held that the IRS Appeals Settlement Officers had not abused their discretion in declining to withdraw a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL), and sustained the collection action in this matter. Taxpayer owed multiple years of 1040 income tax liabilities that totaled $35,436. In September 2016, the IRS established a Partial Payment Installment Agreement (PPIA) for the sum of $300 per month. The IRS determined that the filing of an NFTL was necessary because the unpaid balances exceeded $10,000. Taxpayer timely sought a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing after the filing of the NFTL. He alleged that he would lose his job if the NFTL was not withdrawn. The settlement officer advised that the taxpayer could meet the standards for lien withdrawal if he converted the PPIA to a Direct Debit Installment Agreement (DDIA) paying the debt in less than 60 months. He would then have to apply for lien withdrawal on Form 12277 after three months of successful auto debits. The taxpayer would not alter the terms of his PPIA to comply and so Appeals sustained the NFTL filing. The taxpayer filed a Petition in Tax Court for review. The Tax Court remanded to a new Settlement Officer to address whether a lump sum payment made to bring down the balance had been accounted for in the initial conference. The Settlement Officer found that the payments calculated by the first Settlement Officer were correct and requested documentation that his employment was in jeopardy. The taxpayer declined and decided to continue in Court. Ultimately, the Taxpayer failed to substantiate any information regarding possible loss of employment. The Court ruled that the Settlement Officer had not abused his discretion in sustaining the lien. Furthermore, even if the taxpayer had established the DDIA, the Officer would not have abused his discretion by refusing to withdraw the lien as there is no requirement under the law to withdraw the lien because of an installment agreement. This is a voluntary procedure of the Service, not a mandatory one. Taxpayer again presented no evidence in Court regarding possibly loss of employment. The Court entered judgment for the government.