A California Franchise Tax Board bank levy is a legal action by the State of California where funds are taken from a bank account of a tax debtor for back due tax debts. Technically called an “Order To Withhold,” FTB bank levies are difficult to release and in most situations a release is not possible. If you have received a bank levy, you should still proceed immediately on resolving your case as other collection action may be in the works.
When Is A California Franchise Tax Board Bank Levy Issued?
Levies are issued to bank accounts after a final notice to the taxpayer is sent requesting them to resolve the balance and no contact or arrangements are made. Time beyond what is stated in the letter can be granted if you or your attorney call in to resolve the case. Doing nothing almost always eventually results in a levy on any bank account at a bank for which you have received a 1099.
Take action on the debt or hire a tax attorney to get things going. Otherwise you risk a FTB bank levy. The best way to take action is to resolve the balance, which prevents a levy from happening in the first place.
Stopping A California FTB Bank Levy Before It Starts
An FTB bank levy is stopped when your case is resolved or pending resolution. Collection action is not stopped by filing an Offer In Compromise in all cases, but it is in most.
The four most common ways to resolve a balance with the FTB are:
- Pay In Full – Pay off the debt completely
- Payment Plan – Paying off the debt in monthly payment
- Offer In Compromise – Settling a tax debt for less than the amount owed
- Hardship Request – Tax debt collections are stopped for one year (six months in some cases)
- File Bankruptcy – Stops the FTB from taking any further collection action
An FTB Offer In Compromise is considered the best form of California tax debt forgiveness, but not everyone will qualify. A California Franchise Tax Board bank levy will not be issued if any of the other options is in place. Bankruptcy is a good option if you have a lot of other debts. See Bankruptcy or Offer In Compromise for more info.
California Franchise Tax Board Levied My Bank Account! What Do I Do? Release, If Possible
Releasing the levy is very difficult. The majority of cases result in seizure of funds. The FTB issues an Order to Withhold. The bank holds funds for 10 days before being transferred over to the FTB. An extension on the FTB taking the money can be issued by an FTB agent if you contact them and are dealing with them to try and get it released.
There are three main ways to release a California Franchise Tax Board bank levy:
- Prove a financial hardship
- Show that the money belonged to someone else
- Show that the levy took funds that are exempt from levy
- Prove another extraordinary circumstance
Proving Financial Hardship for FTB Bank Levy Release
Releasing an FTB bank levy by financial hardship is tough. Being elderly helps in this type of argument for a California Franchise Tax Board bank levy release as well. Eviction notices can help build your case as well. Financial hardship is tough to prove. Even though you may qualify for a 12 month hardship on your case, this does not mean you are in hardship enough for them to release your bank levy every time. Do not wait until you get a better job or have more money to contact the FTB. You could get levied in the process.
The Money Is Not Mine! Release My Bank Levy!
An attorney holding money in trust for clients would get a release. Your grandma accidentally deposited her money into your bank. Prove it and that would get a release usually. In order to get this kind of FTB bank levy release you need good proof in the form of documentation. An explanation by itself is not going to work.
Exempt Funds From California Franchise Tax Board Bank Levies
Social Security income and veterans’ benefits are exempt from FTB levies.The funds can be released if they are levied by you or your tax attorney contacting the FTB. Other forms of public assistance are usually exempt as well. This is the easiest type of FTB bank levy release to get.
Other Extraordinary Circumstances for FTB Bank Levy Release
FTB bank levies can be released, but you must prove an extraordinary circumstance that makes sense to the FTB agent handling the case. Don’t count on the FTB agent accepting anything here. Here is an example of an FTB bank levy that we were able to release under extraordinary circumstances:
- The client owed back due debt to the FTB of about $280,000
- He had an Offer In Compromise accepted by the IRS a year before the FTB bank levy
- Part of the terms of his IRS Offer In Compromise is to stay current on taxes for 5 years without a hiccup
- He received a bank levy from the FTB, which took the funds he was holding to pay his 2017 tax return
- We proved to the FTB agent that not releasing these funds would default his IRS Offer In Compromise, creating another creditor in line with the FTB.
The FTB agent released the bank levy with a lot of back and forth and documentation. Still no guarantee this would happen again. It was up to the discretion of the agent and the manager.
The First Levy Won’t Be The Last If You Do Nothing
Get to resolving your case or hire a tax attorney to handle it for you once you receive a California Franchise Tax Board bank levy. Receiving the levy is a sign that your case is deep in collections. Do not plan on getting the levy funds back, but it might be possible. If you do it is a bonus. Owe more than $20,000 to the FTB, IRS, or both? You can also contact us at (888) 515-4829 (4TAX) or by visit our Contact page and we will contact you back. You get a free consultation with an experienced tax attorney. If we cannot help, we will still point you in the right direction.