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Dealing With Tax Liens

  Sanjiv Gupta CPA  Published 
Dealing With Tax Liens

Federal tax liens are documents that are filed in the county in which a business or a person is conducting his or her activities informing the public that the person or business n question has outstanding tax bills. This lien attaches to the property of the said individual or business allowing the IRS to recover the full value of the tax bill through the sale of the personal and business property of a person or business. In essence, it is a warrant that the IRS places on your pieces of the property allowing them to dispose of them off in the pursuit of tax arrears. Once a lien is filed, then during the period that the lien is effective the IRS can sell off any property and recover the amounts owed in tax before the balance of such a transaction is given to the individual. So what happens when you pay off your tax debt?

Well, the major thing is that the lien is lifted. The statute requires that the lien is lifted within 30 days of the settlement of the bill that was due. That is the law that comes into operation once the balance is cleared. However, in reality, this does not always take place. In most cases, the IRS is normally reluctant to release the lien that it has placed on a piece of property. To make up for this oversight, the lien is often issued with the writing that if it is not refilled on the date of the expiry, then the owner of the piece of property should consider the lien released. This option means that at the end of the liens period, the ownership of the pieces of property that had been attached reverts back to the owner.

Does the IRS inform your credit agencies of the release of any lien once it expires? The law requires that a Certificate of Release is filed at the courthouse where the original lien had been filed. Once it is filed, the owner of the piece of property can then use it. However, most people have made the proposal for the creation of at least three copies of the release certificate. These copies would then be sent to the credit bureau once they are filed therefore releasing the individual from doing the job himself or herself.

Is it possible to have a tax lien on your credit file without your knowledge? The simple answer is yes. In this day and age when identity theft is at an all-time high, the probability of finding a lien in your credit reports when you have no idea of it is very likely. The next step that you should take is to notify the IRS and the court in which such a lien was filed to seek clarification. Often, the services of a lawyer will be required to make the follow up as the process may be tedious and time-consuming. In addition, it is important to keep legal counsel by your side during this process to mitigate the legal impact such a discovery may have on your affairs.