Can the IRS Really Take Your Home Equity?

Understanding the IRS’s Authority

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) possesses the legal authority to impose a lien on your property, including your home, if you fail to fulfill your federal income tax obligations. This lien serves as a public notice that the IRS has a claim against your assets, including your home equity. While the IRS seldom resorts to foreclosing on homes to collect unpaid taxes, it remains a possibility, particularly if you have substantial home equity and have been uncooperative or have a disproportionately valuable home.

IRS Home Equity Seizure: A Last Resort

It is crucial to note that the IRS typically views seizing a primary residence as a last resort due to the negative public perception and potential for creating additional problems, such as displacing taxpayers or their dependents. The IRS is aware that such actions can have severe consequences, and it generally prefers to explore alternative collection methods before resorting to home equity seizure.

Alternative Collection Methods

The IRS may pursue other options to collect unpaid taxes before considering home equity seizure. These alternatives include:

  • Offers in Compromise: Taxpayers may negotiate with the IRS to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount owed.
  • Installment Agreements: Taxpayers can arrange to pay their tax debt in installments over an extended period.
  • Wage Garnishment: The IRS can garnish a portion of your wages to satisfy your tax debt.
  • Bank Levy: The IRS can seize funds from your bank account to cover your tax debt.

Protecting Your Home Equity

To safeguard your home equity from IRS seizure, it is essential to:

  • File and Pay Taxes on Time: Avoid tax delinquencies to prevent the IRS from placing a lien on your property.
  • Respond to IRS Notices: If you receive an IRS notice regarding a tax debt, respond promptly and provide the requested information.
  • Explore Payment Options: If you are unable to pay your tax debt in full, contact the IRS to discuss alternative payment arrangements.
  • Consider a Tax Professional: Seek guidance from a tax professional or enrolled agent who can assist you in navigating the complexities of tax resolution and protecting your assets.

While the IRS has the authority to seize your home equity to collect unpaid taxes, it is a rare occurrence. The IRS typically employs alternative collection methods before resorting to home equity seizure. By understanding the IRS’s authority and taking proactive steps to address your tax obligations, you can minimize the risk of losing your home equity to the IRS.

Can the IRS Take your House?


At what point will IRS take your house?

The IRS can seize some of your property, including your house if you owe back taxes and are not complying with any payment plan you may have entered. This is known as a tax levy or tax garnishment. Typically, the IRS will start by garnishing your wages, salary, or commission.

What property can the IRS seize?

Levying means that the IRS can confiscate and sell property to satisfy a tax debt. This property could include your car, boat, or real estate. The IRS may also levy assets such as your wages, bank accounts, Social Security benefits, and retirement income.

Can IRS take proceeds from sale of home?

Normally, if you have equity in your property, the tax lien is paid (in part or in whole depending on the equity) out of the sales proceeds at the time of closing. If the home is being sold for less than the lien amount, the taxpayer can request the IRS discharge the lien to allow for the completion of the sale.

Is home equity taxable?

It’s usually only taxed in a sale, not when you borrow against equity Want to read more content like this? for The Balance’s newsletter for daily insights, analysis, and financial tips, all delivered straight to your inbox every morning! Was this page helpful?

Can I claim home equity loan on my taxes?

However, the rules for deducting home equity debt have changed since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The amount of mortgage debt you have and how you used the loan proceeds are two factors that

Can you get a home equity loan without a tax return?

While it is possible to get a HELOC or a home equity loan without showing your tax return, pay stubs, and so on, it is usually more expensive. Low- or no-documentation loans are very risky and were mostly banned with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, as they directly contributed to the mortgage crisis.

Are home equity loans tax deductible?

Interest paid on a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) can still be tax deductible. Don’t take out a home equity loan or a HELOC just for the tax deduction. The high standard deduction means that even those who can claim a home equity tax deduction may not find it advantageous to do so.

Leave a Comment