Tax Problems

Tax Liens

A tax lien is not an immediate collection action and it can limit your options when it comes to the property and assets you own. Get help with a Tax Lien on personal or business assets.

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“An experienced tax attorney can look at your unique financial situation and determine a solutions that meets your financial goals while keeping you in good standing with tax authorities.”

- Alyssa Maloof Whatley

A man reviewing his taxes by hand

Pro Tip:

Stay informed.

You may be eligible for an Offer In Compromise or to enter into an installment payment plan. But every option has its pros and cons, so you need to make an informed decision. Learn more on our Tax Solutions pages.

What Is A Tax Lien?

A lien is a declaration of interest by the IRS in your property due to a failure to pay a tax debt. This lien can affect all your property and especially when it comes to your home, it can limit your options while the lien is in place.

Of course, the easiest way to get out from under a tax lien is to pay the taxes you owe. If that isn’t an immediate solution, other options exist.

For some taxpayers, lien withdrawal, subordination, or discharge of a lien is the right option.

Business owners especially need the guidance of an experienced tax attorney. A lien attaches to all business property – including accounts receivable. This means a federal tax lien is potentially devastating to your ability to conduct your business.

Does A Tax Lien Ever Go Away?

At a minimum, a tax lien can remain in place for 10 years while the IRS still has the statutory authority to collect a debt. It’s important to understand your options when dealing with a tax lien. Certain options can extend the time the IRS has to collect.
 
You need a qualified and experienced tax pro who can look at your entire financial situation and determine a strategy that works for you or your business.

Is An IRS Tax Lien A Public Record?

Yes. A Notice of Federal Tax Lien is a public document that alerts other potential creditors of the IRS interest in a delinquent taxpayer’s property.

A man sitting with his hand steepling and a calendar
From left to right, Alyssa Maloof Whatley, Harrison Kulp, and Kiara Maxie

“Too often, Taxpayers are unaware of IRS's policies or procedures. Even worse, Taxpayers often get incorrect or incomplete information from IRS employees, which can be detrimental to a Taxpayer's case, which is why having an attorney is necessary.”

- Alyssa Maloof Whatley

What’s The Difference Between A Levy And A Lien?

A levy actually takes your property to satisfy your debt. A lien is a delayed collection tactic that secures the government’s interest in your property so your debt is paid when the property is sold or refinanced.

Will Having A Tax Lien Affect My Credit Or My Ability To Get A Mortgage?

Until 2018, IRS liens were reported on credit reports. Now, the three credit bureaus don’t receive information about federal tax debt so technically having a lien against your property won’t impact your credit score.

However, some mortgage lenders and creditors will search public records for tax liens. This can make it difficult to get new lines of credit or credit cards. Landlords also may rely on public records of liens to determine your creditworthiness.

A hand holding a house and keys
A car that can be used for a tax lien

What Types Of Property Or Assets Can The IRS Put A Lien On?

For individuals, the IRS can place a lien on “all of your assets (such as property, securities, vehicles) and to future assets acquired during the duration of the lien”.
 
For business owners, the lien attaches to all business property and to all rights to business property, including accounts receivable.

Can The IRS Take My House For Unpaid Taxes?

In a word, yes. For taxpayers with significant tax debt, the family residence is likely their most valuable asset.

However, the process to seize a home is more complicated than other avenues of collection available to the IRS and usually is a last resort. If you’re facing the seizure of a principal residence to satisfy tax debt, you need to seek professional advice from an experienced tax lawyer.