Some taxes have a “one-time” effect, in which the IRS keeps an asset all at once. A tax on your bank account only includes what was in the account at the time your bank receives the tax. The IRS must issue another tax if there are more funds in your account later on. Other taxes have an ongoing effect.
A garnishment is a legal seizure of your property to satisfy a tax debt. A lien is a legal claim against property to ensure payment of the tax debt, while a lien actually takes the property to satisfy the tax debt. When the rate is in a bank account, the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) establishes a 21-day waiting period to meet the rate. The waiting period is intended to give you time to contact the IRS and agree to pay the tax or notify the IRS of errors in the rate.
The IRS bank garnishment process begins with a notification sent by the IRS to the bank that holds your assets. The IRS usually only sends one garnishment notice at a time, but will eventually send notice to all banks where they have reason to believe that you have assets. Most taxes are unique events at the time of the IRS order. However, some types of taxes are recurrent, such as wage garnishments.
Garnishments can last until the IRS recovers the amount of taxes owed, plus penalties and interest in full. Once the 30 days have elapsed without you taking any action, the IRS can initiate the garnishment at any time it chooses. If you owe money to several sources, such as credit card companies, the IRS generally takes the lead in collecting debts owed.