When a Minnesotan who has not reached the age of majority violates the law it’s not called a crime, at least not most of the time. Rather, it’s called a delinquent act. Because the perpetrator is not an adult the penalties for wrongdoing tend to be less severe.

The same may not necessarily be said if a person is identified as being tax delinquent. If the IRS or the Minnesota Department of Revenue flag your case as being delinquent, it can result in a series of consequences. Two of the most common are liens and levies.

Sometimes these are mistaken for the same thing. They should not be. If you have been notified that either exists against you, you should be working with a skilled tax attorney to understand your rights and do your utmost to protect them.

There are simple but significant differences between liens and levies. In the process of tax collection, the lien comes first. It is the government’s way of securing its right to seize a taxpayer’s assets if taxes owed are not paid. The levy is that legal vehicle by which the government actually seizes the property. The funds realized are then used to clear the tax debt from the records.

Governments are not allowed to take these actions without providing individuals with clear and full notification. So when such notices do arrive, they need to be taken seriously and responded to.

If it should happen that your case gets to the levy stage, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of options. Upon notice of a levy, a taxpayer has the right to consult an attorney and pursue an appeal. Whether you do or not depends on the specific circumstances of your case and an experienced tax lawyer can help with the assessment.