(a) Actions permitted—(1) Wrongful levy—(i) In general. If a levy has been made on property or property has been sold pursuant to a levy, any person (other than the person against whom is assessed the tax out of which such levy arose) may bring a civil action against the United States in a district court of the United States based upon such person's claim—
(A) That such person has an interest in, or lien on, such property which is senior to the interest of the United States; and
(B) That such property was wrongfully levied upon.
(ii) Debt owed by another Federal agency. Section 7426 and this paragraph (a) apply when a levy is made by the Internal Revenue Service on a debt owed to a taxpayer by another Federal agency. By contrast, section 7426 and this paragraph (a) do not apply if the Internal Revenue Service requests payment from another Federal agency pursuant to a request for setoff.
(2) Surplus proceeds. If property has been sold pursuant to levy, any person (other than the person against whom is assessed the tax out of which such levy arose) may bring a civil action against the United States in a district court of the United States based upon such person's claim that he—
(i) Has an interest in or lien on such property junior to that of the United States; and
(ii) Is entitled to the surplus proceeds of such sale.
(3) Substituted sale proceeds. Any person who claims to be legally entitled to all or any part of the amount which is held as a fund from the sale of property pursuant to an agreement described in section 6325(b)(3) may bring a civil action against the United States in a district court of the United States to obtain the relief provided by section 7426 (b)(4). It is not necessary that the claimant be a party to the agreement which provides for the substitution of the sale proceeds for the property subject to the lien.
(4) Substitution of value. A person who obtains a certificate of discharge under section 6325(b)(4) with respect to any property may, within 120 days after the day on which the certificate is issued, bring a civil action against the United States in a district court of the United States for a determination of whether the value of the interest of the United States (if any) in such property is less than the value determined by the appropriate official. A civil action under this provision shall be the exclusive judicial remedy for a person other than the taxpayer who obtains a certificate of discharge for a filed notice of Federal tax lien.
(b) Adjudication—(1) Wrongful levy. If the court determines that property has been wrongfully levied upon, the court may—
(i) Grant an injunction to prohibit the enforcement of such levy or to prohibit a sale of such property if such sale would irreparably injure rights in the property which are superior to the rights of the United States in such property; or
(ii) Order the return of specific property if the United States is in possession of such property; or
(iii) Grant a judgment for the amount of money levied upon; or
(iv) Grant a judgment for an amount not exceeding the amount received by the United States from the sale of such property (which, in the case of property declared purchased by the United States at a sale, shall be the greater of the minimum amount determined pursuant to section 6335(e) or the amount received by the United States from the resale of such property).
For purposes of this paragraph, a levy is wrongful against a person (other than the taxpayer against whom the assessment giving rise to the levy is made), if (a) the levy is upon property exempt from levy under section 6334, or (b) the levy is upon property in which the taxpayer had no interest at the time the lien arose or thereafter, or (c) the levy is upon property with respect to which such person is a purchaser against whom the lien is invalid under section 6323 or 6324 (a)(2) or (b), or (d) the levy or sale pursuant to levy will or does effectively destroy or otherwise irreparably injure such person's interest in the property which is senior to the Federal tax lien. A levy may be wrongful against a holder of a senior lien upon the taxpayer's property under certain circumstances although legal rights to enforce his interest survive the levy procedure. For example, the levy may be wrongful against such a person if the property is an obligation which is collected pursuant to the levy rather than sold and nothing thereafter remains for the senior lienholder, or the property levied upon is of such a nature that when it is sold at a public sale the property subject to the senior lien is not available for the senior lienholder as a realistic source for the enforcement of his interest. Some of the factors which should be taken into account in determining whether property remains or will remain a realistic source from which the senior lienholder may realize collection are: (1) The nature of the property, (2) the number of purchasers, (3) the value of each unit sold or to be sold, (4) whether, as a direct result of the distraint sale, the costs of realizing collection from the security have or will be so substantially increased as to render the security substantially valueless as a source of collection, and (5) whether the property subject to the distraint sale constitutes substantially all of the property available as security for the payment of the indebtedness to the senior lienholder.
(2) Example. The provisions of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph (b) may be illustrated by the following example:
(3) Surplus proceeds. If the court determines that the interest or lien of any party to an action under section 7426 was transferred to the proceeds of a sale of the property, the court may grant a judgment in an amount equal to all or any part of the amount of the surplus proceeds of such sale. The term “surplus proceeds” means those proceeds realized on a sale of property remaining after application of the provisions of section 6342(a).
(4) Substituted sale proceeds. If the court determines that a party has an interest in or lien on the amount held as a fund pursuant to an agreement described in section 6325(b)(3), the court may grant a judgment in an amount equal to all or any part of the amount of such fund.
(5) Substitution of value. If the court determines that the determination by the appropriate official of the value of the interest of the United States in the property exceeds the actual value of such interest, the court may grant a judgment ordering a refund of the amount deposited, or a release of the bond, to the extent that the aggregate of those amounts exceeds the value as determined by the court.
(c) Effective date. Paragraph (a)(1) of this section is effective as of December 23, 1993.
(d) Paragraphs (a)(4) and (b)(5) of this section apply to any request for a certificate of discharge made after January 31, 2008.
[T.D. 7305, 39 FR 9951, Mar. 15, 1974, as amended by T.D. 8541, 59 FR 26601, May 23, 1994; 73 FR 5744, Jan. 31, 2008]