Does anyone know if the IRS can levy my bank account in Germany? I bank with Commerzbank. From what I have read, if the bank has a branch in the USA (Commerzbank only has one) they can seize your bank account if you owe back taxes.

  • Are you a US Citizen?
    – Michael
    Apr 17 '17 at 13:57
  • 4
    The safest thing is to work out a payment plan or settlement with the IRS, and then keep whatever promises you make therein. The IRS really doesn't care, they just want what is lawful. If you disagree, sue the IRS - I did and won. Easy if you're right. If you let the time for suing slip past, live and learn. Unfortunately some citizens imagine things differently, and choose a "game" of "hide the assets". While amusing, it's a net lose compared to other games which are more amusing, more profitable, and more fun, and don't sap your energy. Apr 17 '17 at 17:15

I'm assuming you are a US citizen. If so, then yes, the IRS can seize your bank account if you owe back taxes.

Yes. Regardless of where you live, the IRS can file a lien against your assets regardless if the assets are located in the US or in a foreign country.


The IRS can levy assets such as wages, bank accounts, Social Security benefits and retirement income.

Another source:

Yes. Just because you reside and/or have Bank Accounts, Assets, or Income overseas does not mean your Foreign Bank Accounts, Assets, or Income are safe from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


If the IRS has not contacted you yet, you can get right with them by filing your last three years of tax returns and last six years of FATCA/FBAR reports on your overseas bank accounts (including Commerzbank). You might end up owing money, though probably not as long as you've been honest with the German tax authorities, but not penalties, as long as your lack of filing does not appear to be willful.

Streamlined Procedure: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/streamlined-filing-compliance-procedures

There are several tax accountants that specialize in handling US taxes for US citizens living in Germany, and some of them offer packages for the Streamlined Procedure, in the range of $1200-2500, depending on how complex your situation is. If you are not completely sure what you're doing, the peace of mind might be worth the money.

  • My two cents: if you're paying only $2500 for backfiling multiple years's of returns under the streamlined procedure, you're probably underpaying. Don't cheap out on tax advisory services, it can cost you far, far more in the end. Nov 26 '18 at 20:46

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