In order for the IRS to levy, it must have assessments. To generate assessments for a non-filer, the IRS will do substistute for returns (SFRs). The IRS will often use the SFR assessments to issue wage and bank levies.
If the levies are a hardship, does the Taxpayer have to file his or her tax returns to get the levy released? No! A 2009 tax court case was decided, Vinateri v. C.I.R, 133 T, that where a levy causes hardship, it must be released even if the Taxpayer does not have their returns.
Typically, IRS Revenue Officers will give a long list of documents they want, including preparation of the tax return, before they will release the levy. If the Taxpayer has plain, vanilla returns where the income for the non-filer can be pulled off of IRS E-services, a tax representative can go ahead and prepare the returns.
If the Taxpayer was self-employed or had other complexity in the years he or she had not filed, due diligence requires a complete Tax Organizer and set of books. When Revenue Officers come knocking on the door looking for the unfiled returns, Vinateri requires that the Revenue Officer release the levy, even if the tax returns cannot be immediately produced.
Tax Crisis Institute will not hesitate to fight on all avenues to get a levy released with such a non-filer. If the IRS stonewalls us, we won’t hesitate to go to a Congressional Office to get the law enforced or even bring in the television cameras. Typically we start the Revenue Officer, go to his or Manager, and then the Taxpayer Advocate. We have even had IRS Taxpayer Advocates refuse to release the levy with unfiled returns. When the IRS becomes this recalcitrant, it regrettably then becomes necessary to go third parties to hold the IRS accountable and get them to comply with the law.