26 CFR § 301.6334-1 - Property exempt from levy.
(a) Enumeration. In addition to exemptions allowed as a matter of Internal Revenue Service policy, there shall be exempt from levy -
(1) Wearing apparel and school books. Such items of wearing apparel and such school books as are necessary for the taxpayer or for members of his family. Expensive items of wearing apparel, such as furs, which are luxuries and are not necessary for the taxpayer or for members of his family, are not exempt from levy.
(2) Fuel, provisions, furniture, and personal effects. So much of the fuel, provisions, furniture, and personal effects in the taxpayer's household, and of the arms for personal use, livestock, and poultry of the taxpayer, that does not exceed $6,250 in value.
(3) Books and tools of a trade, business or profession. So many of the books and tools necessary for the trade, business, or profession of an individual taxpayer as do not exceed in the aggregate $3,125 in value.
(4) Unemployment benefits. Any amount payable to an individual with respect to his unemployment (including any portion thereof payable with respect to dependents) under an unemployment compensation law of the United States, of any State, or of the District of Columbia or of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(5) Undelivered mail. Mail, addressed to any person, which has not been delivered to the addressee.
(6) Certain annuity and pension payments. Annuity or pension payments under the Railroad Retirement Act (45 U.S.C. chapter 9), benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (45 U.S.C. chapter 11), special pension payments received by a person whose name has been entered on the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard Medal of Honor roll (38 U.S.C. 562), and annuities based on retired or retainer pay under chapter 73 of title 10 of the United States Code.
(7) Workmen's compensation. Any amount payable to an individual as workmen's compensation (including any portion thereof payable with respect to dependents) under a workmen's compensation law of the United States, any State, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(8) Judgments for support of minor children. If the taxpayer is required under any type of order or decree (including an interlocutory decree or a decree of support pendente lite) of a court of competent jurisdiction, entered prior to the date of levy, to contribute to the support of that taxpayer's minor children, so much of that taxpayer's salary, wages, or other income as is necessary to comply with such order or decree. The taxpayer must establish the amount necessary to comply with the order or decree. The Service is not required to release a levy until such time as it is established that the amount to be released from levy actually will be applied in satisfaction of the support obligation. The Service may make arrangements with a delinquent taxpayer to establish a specific amount of such taxpayer's salary, wage, or other income for each pay period that shall be exempt from levy, for purposes of complying with a support obligation. If the taxpayer has more than one source of income sufficient to satisfy the support obligation imposed by the order or decree, the amount exempt from levy, at the discretion of the Service, may be allocated entirely to one salary, wage or source of other income or be apportioned between the several salaries, wages, or other sources of income.
(9) Minimum exemption for wages, salary, and other income. Amounts payable to or received by the taxpayer as wages or salary for personal services, or as other income, to the extent provided in § 301.6334-2 through § 301.6334-4.
(10) Certain service-connected disability payments. Any amount payable to an individual as a service-connected (within the meaning of section 101(16) of title 38, United States Code (U.S.C.)) disability benefit under -
(i) Subchapters II (wartime disability compensation), III (wartime death compensation), IV (peacetime disability compensation), V (peacetime death compensation), or VI (general compensation provisions) of chapter 11 of title 38, U.S.C.; or
(ii) Chapters 13 (dependency and indemnity compensation for service commenced deaths), 21 (specially adapted housing for disabled veterans), 23 (burial benefits), 31 (vocational rehabilitation), 32 (post-Vietnam era veterans' educational assistance), 34 (veterans' educational assistance), 35 (survivors' and dependents' educational assistance), 37 (home, condominium, and mobile home loans), or 39 (automobiles and adaptive equipment for certain disabled veterans and members of the armed forces) of title 38, U.S.C.
(11) Certain public assistance payments. Any amount payable to an individual as a recipient of public assistance under -
(ii) State or local government public assistance or public welfare programs for which eligibility is determined by a needs or income test.
(13) Residences exempt in small deficiency cases and principal residences and certain business assets exempt in absence of certain approval or jeopardy - (i) Residences in small deficiency cases. If the amount of the levy does not exceed $5,000, any real property used as a residence of the taxpayer or any real property of the taxpayer (other than real property which is rented) used by any other individual as a residence.
(ii) Principal residences and certain business assets. Except to the extent provided in section 6334(e), the principal residence (within the meaning of section 121) of the taxpayer and tangible personal property or real property (other than real property which is rented) used in the trade or business of an individual taxpayer.
(b) Appraisal. The internal revenue officer seizing property of the type described in section 6334(a) shall appraise and set aside to the owner the amount of such property declared to be exempt. If the taxpayer objects at the time of the seizure to the valuation fixed by the officer making the seizure, such officer shall summon three disinterested individuals who shall make the valuation.
(c) Other property. No other property or rights to property are exempt from levy except the property specifically exempted by section 6334(a). No provision of a State law may exempt property or rights to property from levy for the collection of any Federal tax. Thus, property exempt from execution under State personal or homestead exemption laws is, nevertheless, subject to levy by the United States for collection of its taxes.
(d) Levy allowed on principal residence. The Service will seek approval, in writing, by a judge or magistrate of a district court of the United States prior to levy of property that is owned by the taxpayer and used as the principal residence of the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse, the taxpayer's former spouse, or the taxpayer's minor child.
(1) Nature of judicial proceeding. The Government will initiate a proceeding for judicial approval of levy on a principal residence by filing a petition with the appropriate United States District Court demonstrating that the underlying liability has not been satisfied, the requirements of any applicable law or administrative procedure relevant to the levy have been met, and no reasonable alternative for collection of the taxpayer's debt exists. The petition will ask the court to issue to the taxpayer an order to show cause why the principal residence property should not be levied and will also ask the court to issue a notice of hearing.
(2) The taxpayer will be granted a hearing to rebut the Government's prima facie case if the taxpayer files an objection within the time period required by the court raising a genuine issue of material fact demonstrating that the underlying tax liability has been satisfied, that the taxpayer has other assets from which the liability can be satisfied, or that the Service did not follow the applicable laws or procedures pertaining to the levy. The taxpayer is not permitted to challenge the merits underlying the tax liability in the proceeding. Unless the taxpayer files a timely and appropriate objection, the court would be expected to enter an order approving the levy of the principal residence property.
(3) Notice letter to be issued to certain family members. If the property to be levied is owned by the taxpayer but is used as the principal residence of the taxpayer's spouse, the taxpayer's former spouse, or the taxpayer's minor child, the Government will send a letter to each such person providing notice of the commencement of the proceeding. The letter will be addressed in the name of the taxpayer's spouse or ex-spouse, individually or on behalf of any minor children. If it is unclear who is living in the principal residence property and/or what such person's relationship is to the taxpayer, a letter will be addressed to “Occupant”. The purpose of the letter is to provide notice to the family members that the property may be levied. The family members may not be joined as parties to the judicial proceeding because the levy attaches only to the taxpayer's legal interest in the subject property and the family members have no legal standing to contest the proposed levy.
(e) Levy allowed on certain business assets. The property described in section 6334(a)(13)(B)(ii) shall not be exempt from levy if -
(1) An Area Director of the Service personally approves (in writing) the levy of such property; or
(2) The Secretary finds that the collection of tax is in jeopardy. An Area Director may not approve a levy under paragraph (e)(1) unless the Area Director determines that the taxpayer's other assets subject to collection are insufficient to pay the amount due, together with expenses of the proceeding. When other assets of an individual taxpayer include permits issued by a State and required under State law for the harvest of fish or wildlife in the taxpayer's trade or business, the taxpayer's other assets also include future income that may be derived by such taxpayer from the commercial sale of fish or wildlife under such permit.
(f) Levy allowed on certain specified payments. Any payment described in section 6331(h)(2)(B) or (C) shall not be exempt from levy if the Secretary approves the levy thereon under section 6331(h).
(g) Inflation adjustment. For any calendar year beginning after 1999, each dollar amount referred to in paragraphs (a)(2) and (3) of this section will be increased by an amount equal to the dollar amount multiplied by the cost-of-living adjustment determined under section 1(f)(3) for the calendar year (using the language “calendar year 1998” instead of “calendar year 1992” in section 1(f)(3)(B)). If any dollar amount as adjusted is not a multiple of $10, the dollar amount will be rounded to the nearest multiple of $10 (rounding up if the amount is a multiple of $5).
(h) Effective date. This section is generally effective with respect to levies made on or after July 1, 1989. However, any reasonable attempt by a taxpayer to comply with the statutory amendments addressed by the regulations in this section prior to February 21, 1995, will be considered as meeting the requirements of the regulations in this section. In addition, paragraph (a)(11)(i) of this section is applicable with respect to levies issued after December 31, 1996. Paragraphs (a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(8), (a)(13), (d), (e), (f), (g) and (h) of this section apply as of March 7, 2005.