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Sept. 15, 2009
You’ve been contacted by your county sheriff, informing you that the Indiana Department of Revenue has filed a tax warrant for your tax debt with the county clerk’s office. Now your tax debt is a public record, open to other state and federal agencies, and creditors.
Let’s find out how a person gets to this stage and how to avoid getting a tax warrant.
First, it is important to understand that the tax warrant is not the first time a person is hearing about his tax debt. The Indiana Department of Revenue generally begins the collection process on a tax debt with a 45-day notice, mailed directly to the address the Department has on record. This notice explains that the business – or individual taxpayer – has 45 days to either protest the bill (which includes proving the person or business doesn’t owe the tax debt), to pay the bill in full, or to make payment arrangements. To make payment arrangements, you may call the Indiana Department of Revenue at (317) 232-2165.
If the business or individual does not take any of these actions within 45 days of the notification, then a 10-day notice is issued, which is an official tax bill. If this bill amount is not paid within 10 days of the date on the notification, then the tax debt is recorded with the business’ or individual’s county clerk’s office as a tax warrant – and it becomes a public record. From that point, the tax debt is referred to the sheriff or a professional collection agency for collection of the tax debt.
When a tax debt gets to that point, the sheriff or the collection agency has the leeway under Indiana law to garnish wages, levy bank accounts, or even hold an auction to sell off property to pay the tax debt.
While this is not a warrant for arrest, the warrant will appear on a credit report or title search and may become a lien on the taxpayer’s property. This means it may become harder to purchase a car or a house, get a job, and may even factor in being granted citizenship.
But if the sheriff or collection agency has contacted you, your opportunities to avoid a warrant have passed. So, where do you go from here? Well, it’s like most other debts – you will need to resolve it. And you can start with contacting the sheriff or collection agency, depending on which of these has made contact with you, and work out a payment arrangement.
But before it gets to that stage, it is important to contact the Indiana Department of Revenue when you get the first bill. The Indiana Department of Revenue would much rather work with you on a payment arrangement than have to send your debt to a sheriff or collection agency.
For more information about business taxes, you can speak with a bilingual representative at the Indiana Department of Revenue. Call (317) 232-2240 (press 2 for Spanish) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Or you can submit questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also visit our new Web site www.impuestos.in.gov/
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