Did you know that even though the Exxon Valdez oil spill catastrophe was in 1989 that IRS levies (garnishments) relating back to the Exxon lawsuit are still valid? Most of these IRS levies were issued in the period dating from 1994 to 1996. Even though the collection statute of limitations (CSED) has long since expired, they attached to a fixed and determinable right to future payments, namely the Exxon Valdez lawsuit proceeds.
Many fishermen and others whose livelihoods depended upon a clean environment and clean seawater in the Prince William Sound area of Alaska have been waiting on the Exxon settlement for over a decade. Although the original trial court’s verdict was a judgment in the amount of $5 billion, it has been appealed repeatedly over the past decade and a half. As late as December 2006, the judgment has been reduced to only $2.5 Billion but this decision remains on appeal as well.
Although it remains to be seen if the 32,000 hardworking members of the class who originally sued will ever get their money, the IRS maintains that levies issued in anticipation of the awards remain valid and enforceable. If you are a member of the class and need to deal with such a levy you can contact the Local Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) office in Alaska. You can reach TAS by calling the Anchorage TAS office locally at (907) 271-6877 or toll-free at 1-866-490-5449 or the TAS toll-free case intake line at 1-877-275-8271 or TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059.
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Law Offices of Darrin T. Mish, P.A.: Tax Attorney