I own half/50% of a condo -- currently being rented out -- with my brother. If the IRS decides to levy my properties and assets, can they be completely seized if they are co-owned by a non-spouse?
You should meet with a tax attorney as soon as you can. The innocent person would need to file an innocent owner claim if the IRS acted against the property. The innocent person should seek legal counsel as well.
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The IRS manual states:
Serve a levy only when there is reason to believe the third party is holding the taxpayer's property.
If the taxpayer owns property with a person not liable for the tax, consider using another source.
Any property in which the taxpayer has an interest is subject to levy, even if the property is jointly owned with another person (e.g., community property, jointly owned bank accounts). However, because wrongful levy suits and claims can result from such levies, consider levying on another available source.
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It is rare that the IRS will seize real estate. You really need to be totally ignoring them and owe a lot of money (at least $100,000). But, in those rare cases, they would not take your co-owner's equity. They cannot. So, if they attempted to seize the real estate and sell it, they would only be entitled to your 50%.
What you should do is get some professional advice on how to deal with your IRS problem.
Marty Davidoff, firstname.lastname@example.org, 732-274-1600. This answer is provided for general information only. You should seek advice from an attorney or tax professional.
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