Tax Lien - IRS Lien - Lien Discharge

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Articles by Alvin Brown
Tax Preparation
Offer In Compromise
State Offers in Compromise
IRS Tax Liens
IRS Tax Liens - continued
IRS Tax Liens - continued 2
Levy - continued
Audit Techniques Guide
Congressional Contacts
Criminal Investigation
D.O.J Criminal Tax Manual
Tax Litigation
Installment Agreements
Statute of Limitations
Frivolous Tax Argument
Interest Abatement
IRS Misconduct
IRS Abuses
Tax Fraud
Fraud Statutes
Tax Reform Legislation
Tax Shelters
Tax Court
Trust Fund Penalty
Innocent Spouse Relief
Important Links

IRS Tax Liens

Additional Information:


Tax Lien - IRS Lien - Lien Discharge
Lien Appeals
Lien Filing Requirements
Lien Filing Requirements cont.
Certificates - Claim for Damages
Claim for Damages cont.
Judicial/Nonjudicial Foreclosures
Lien Processing
Internal Revenue Code 6321
State Law 6321
Internal Revenue Code 6322
Internal Revenue Code 6323
Internal Revenue Code 6324
Internal Revenue Code 6325
Internal Revenue Code 6326
Internal Revenue Code 6320
Internal Revenue Code 6327
Internal Revenue Code 6330
Certificate of Discharge from Tax Lien
Certificate of Subordination of Tax Lien
Lien Notice Requirements and Appeals
Tax Lien Certificate
6325 Regulations
Action to quiet title
Burden of Proof
Collateral Estoppel
Discharge of Bankruptcy
Effect of Partial Abatement
Certificate of release of tax lien
Certificate of Discharge
Claim for Damages
Choate Requirement - State Law
Suit to Cancel Lien
Certificate of Subordination
Effect of Discharge
7425 Statute
7425 Regulations
Judicial Sales
Non-judicial Sales
Notice of Sale
Notice Requirement
Period of Redemption p1
Period of Redemption p2
Redemption Payment
Release of Right of Redemption
Scope of Redemption
After Foreclosure Result
Foreclosure Sales
6320-Applicability of Statute
6321 - After Aquired Property p1
6321 - After Aquired Property p2
6321 - After Aquired Property p3
6321 - After Aquired Property p4
6321 - Applicability of Statute
6321 - Collection Due Process Hearings
6321 - Annuities
6321 - Bank Deposits p1
6321 - Bank Deposits p2
6321 - Bankruptcy p1
6321 - Bankruptcy p2
6321 - Bankruptcy p3
6321 - Bankruptcy p4
6321 - Bankruptcy p5
6321 - Bankruptcy p6
6321 - Conveyances to Related Parties p1
6321 - Conveyances to Related Parties p2
6321 - Conveyances to Related Parties p3
6321 - Conveyances to 3rd Parties p1
6321 - Conveyances to 3rd Parties p2
6321 - Conveyances to 3rd Parties p3
6321 - Conveyances to 3rd Parties p4
6321 - Community Property p1
6321 - Community Property p2
6321 - Community Property p3
6321 - Employee Pension Plans
6321 - Creation of Lien p1
6321 - Creation of Lien p2
6321 - Creation of Lien p3
6321 - Creation of Lien p4
6321 - Creation of Lien p5
6321 - Debts Owed to the Taxpayer p1
6321 - Debts Owed to the Taxpayer p2
6321 - Debts Owed to the Taxpayer p3
6321 - Debts Owed to the Taxpayer p4
6321 - Debts Owed to the Taxpayer p5
6321 - Debts Owed to the Taxpayer p6
6321 - Escrow Accounts
6321 - Foreign Property
6321 - Forfeited Property
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p1
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p2
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p3
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p4
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p5
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p6
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p7
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p8
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p9
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p10
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p11
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part1 p12
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part2 p1
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part2 p2
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part2 p3
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part2 p4
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part2 p5
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part2 p6
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part3 p1
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part3 p2
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part3 p3
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part3 p4
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part3 p5
6321 - Fraudulent Conveyances Part3 p6
6321 - Funds on Deposit p1
6321 - Funds on Deposit p2
6321 - Funds on Deposit p1
6321 - Homesteaded Property p1
6321 - Homesteaded Property p2
6321 - Homesteaded Property p3
6321 - Insurance p1
6321 - Insurance p2
6321 - Insurance p3
6321 - Insurance p4
6321 - Licenses 2 - p1
6321 - Licenses 2 - p2
6321 - Licenses 2 - p3
6321 - Legal Obligations
6321 - Partnerships p1
6321 - Partnerships p2
6321 - Partnership Property
6321 - Other State Created Exemptions
6321 - Property Rights of 3rd Parties p1
6321 - Property Rights of 3rd Parties p2
6321 - Property Rights of 3rd Parties p3
6321 - Prior Law p1
6321 - Prior Law p2
6321 - Property rights of a nondeclared spouse p1
6321 - Property rights of a nondeclared spouse p2
6321 - Property rights of a nondeclared spouse p3
6321 - Property rights of a nondeclared spouse p4
6321 - Property Seized During Arrest
6321 - Stolen Property
6321 - Rent
6321 - Stock Certificates
6321-Unperfected interests p1
6321-Unperfected interests p2
6321-Unperfected interests p3
6321-Unperfected interests p4
6321-Unperfected interests p5
6321-Tangible property in the taxpayer's possession
6321-Trusts for third parties p1
6321-Trusts for third parties p2
6321-Trusts p1
6321-Trusts p2
6321-Trusts p3
6321-Trusts p4
6321-Trusts p5
6321-Trusts p6
6321-Trusts p7
6321-Property transferred during divorce (2) p1
6321-Property transferred during divorce (2) p2
6321-Real property p1
6321-Real property p2
6321-Real property p3
6321-Real property p4
6321-Real property p5
6321-Real property p6
6321-Real property p7
6321-Real property p8
6321-Relinquishments and disclaimers
6332 - Annotations- Exclusiveness of Remedy
6332 - Annotations- Evidence of Debts
6332 - Annotations- Garnishment
6332 - Annotations- Levy and Demand
6332 - Annotations- Insurance Policy 1 p1
6332 - Annotations- Insurance Policy 1 p2
6332 - Annotations- Insurance Policy 1 p3
6332 - Annotations- Insurance Policy 2
6332 - Annotations- Interest and Penalties
6332 - Annotations- Leasehold Interest
Taxpayer's Property in Possession of Thrid Party p1
Taxpayer's Property in Possession of Thrid Party p2
Taxpayer's Property in Possession of Thrid Party p3
6322-Limitations p1
6322-Limitations p2
6322-Prior law
6322-Relation-back doctrine
6322-Release of liens
6322-State law
6322 - Nevada


Lien Release, Tax Lien Certificate

Property Lien, Government Tax Lien, 

Withdrawing Liens, Lien Subordination


In law, lien is the broadest term for any sort of charge or encumbrance against an item of property that secures the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation.

Liens can be consensual or non-consensual. Consensual liens are imposed by a contract between the creditor and the debtor. These liens include:

  • mortgages;
  • car loans;
  • security interests;
  • chattel mortgages

Non-consensual liens typically arise by statute or by the operation of the common law. These liens give a creditor the right to impose a lien on an item of real property or a chattel by the existence of the relationship of creditor and debtor. These liens include:

  • tax liens, imposed to secure payment of a tax;
  • attorney's liens, against funds and documents to secure payment of fees;
  • mechanic's liens, which secure payment for work done on property or land;
  • judgment liens, imposed to secure payment of a judgment
  • maritime liens, imposed on ships by admiralty law.

Liens are also "perfected" or "unperfected." Perfected liens are those liens for which a creditor has taken the steps required by law to give third parties notice of his interest in the property in which a lien is claimed. The fact that an item of property is in the hands of the creditor usually constitutes perfection. Where the property remains in the hands of the debtor, some further step must be taken, like recording a notice of the security interest with the appropriate office.

Perfecting a lien is an important part of the task of protecting the secured creditor's interest in the property. A perfected lien is valid, even against a trustee in bankruptcy; an unperfected lien is not.

Tax lien

A tax lien is a lien imposed on a property by a government body to secure payment of taxes owed.

In the United States , many state and county governments issue liens on delinquent properties, and then offer them to investors, typically at public auction. The purchasers of these liens are repaid, with interest, when the delinquent taxpayer pays the tax owed. In the event that the taxpayer does not pay the taxes owed and defaults on the tax bill, the owner of the tax lien may foreclose on the property. Upon foreclosure, the lienholder may then pay off the taxes owed and acquire legal ownership of the property.

During periods of recession, when economic pressures are greater on individual taxpayers, tax liens owners may be able to earn an attractive interest rate, or potentially, property at a reduced price. For the government, tax liens provide municipalities with liquidity and a source of steady revenue, even when taxpayers are delinquent in paying their bills.

There can be significant pitfalls to purchasing tax liens. At auction, some purchasers have spent thousands to acquire tax liens, only to find out that the property subject to the lien is almost worthless. Auctions also typically require payment in cash within 24-48 hours after the auction, requiring individual purchasers to maintain significant liquidity.

Purchasing so-called "distressed" properties has spawned a cottage industry that educates individuals how to purchase tax liens and properties close to foreclosure. Unfortunately, many scam artists have also taken advantage of the public's willingness to learn how tax liens work. However, with real estate prices continuing to increase, and the country's fascination with "flipping" real estate for profits, experts predict the public will continue flocking to tax liens.


Mechanics lien

A mechanics lien is a hold on real property for the benefit of someone whose work or property improves the property. It is called by various names, including materialman's lien, supplier's lien, laborer's lien and others. Through "perfecting" a lien, the technical term for establishing a mechanics lien, the owner's title to the property suffers an interference that will have to be addressed before the owner can restore clear title. Generally, a lien would only arise if there is a payment dispute, although some states (e.g. California ) require pre-lien notices at the beginning of a project. Since real property ownership is mostly a function of state law, establishing a mechanics lien is mostly a process governed by state law, in particular a mechanics lien statute. The process for perfecting a mechanics lien varies significantly from state to state. However, common parts of the process of perfecting a mechanics lien include notice to the owner and to other persons or entities involved in the construction project, and also the drafting and filing of a document with the government office that records deeds or titles to land.

Mechanics liens are also sometimes known as contractors liens and construction liens. Historically, the term "mechanic" once referred to any person who performed skilled labor, not limited to current usage that assumes a machine to be the subject of that work. Thus, at the time the phrase "mechanics lien" was invented, the understanding was that such a person might be a carpenter, plumber, or the like. Because of the change in the meaning of the word "mechanic," some states have changed the statutes to have a "mechanics lien" for people who work on cars and the like, and a separate "construction lien" statute to deal with construction-related payment disputes. The term "lien" comes from the French root (via William the Conqueror), with a meaning similar to link; it is related to "liaison."

What type of contribution counts as a valid basis for a mechanics lien is also variable, depending on the particular state statute that applies. The core purpose is protecting the benefit that a worker provides, such as the time and effort a carpenter puts into nailing the boards together on the job site, and thus is included in the scope of most liens. However, other types of contributions are less direct - the contribution of an architect, or the supply company that delivers materials, or a company that rents the backhoe to the contractor, or the company that rents the port-a-pots to the contractor, or the truck that brings food to the workers at lunchtime. There is no simple dividing line that is useful in every state, or even in every case. Often, determining whether a party has a legitimate lien right depends on examining other cases that have either upheld or rejected lien claims in the same state.

Mechanics liens are a reaction to the imbalance of power between a worker at a construction site, and an owner of that land. The worker makes the time and effort investment on the assumption that the owner will pay, but until the owner does pay, the owner is in a significantly superior power position. The improvements have already been made, and it will not significantly benefit the worker to demolish the work. Thus, unscrupulous owners could simply lock the tradesman out of the property, retain the benefit, and refuse to pay. Additionally, as a society we benefit by having improvements to buildings, and knocking them down as a resolution to disputes is economically inefficient. Because of the difficulties inherent in contract suits, most clearly time and cost, states decided to provide a simpler procedure for putting pressure on an owner to pay a claim, short of executing a judgment.

While the mechanics lien is overall a benefit to the worker, there are protections in the process for the owner. Generally, the worker must follow a strictly constrained process, and failure to follow that process will invalidate the lien. Some parts of that process are intended to prevent disputes from occurring, such as a structure of mandatory notices and disclosures that provide the owner an opportunity to ensure that the project's finances are being properly managed, in addition to being able to monitor the physical progress of the work.

Real property of the government is ordinarily not subject to the claims of private parties, and a purported state-law mechanic's lien against government land is generally void. However, the personal property of the state, namely the funds allocated for the project, are lienable, at least in some states. To protect subcontractors and suppliers of US federal government construction projects where the contract price exceeds $100,000.00, the Miller Act (40 U.S. Code 3131) requires general contractors to give a surety bond which guarantees payment for work done in accordance with the terms of the contract. Many state and municipal governments also require contractors on public works projects to be bonded.

Mechanics, Mechanic's, Mechanics' - From a grammar standpoint, use of the apostrophe is variable in legal proceedings, and the elimination of it matches some states' usage.


A judgment or judgement, in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court following legal proceedings. At the same time the court may also make a range of court orders, such as imposing a sentence upon a guilty defendant in a criminal matter, or providing a remedy for the plaintiff in a civil matter.

In the United States, under the rules of civil procedure governing practice in federal courts and most state courts, the entry of judgment is the final order entered by the court in the case, leaving no further action to be taken by the court with respect to the issues contested by the parties to the lawsuit. With certain exceptions, only a final judgment is subject to appeal.

In other contexts, a judgment implies a balanced weighing up of evidence preparatory to making a decision. A formal process of evaluation applies. A judgment may be expressed as a statement, e.g. S1: 'A is B' and is usually the outcome of an evaluation of alternatives. The formal process of evaluation can sometimes be described as a set of conditions and criteria that must be satisfied in order for a judgment to be made. What follows is a suggestive list of some conditions that are commonly required:

  • there must be corroborating evidence for S1,
  • there must be no true contradicting statements,
  • if there are contradicting statements, these must be outweighed by the corroborating evidence for S1, or
  • contradicting statements must themseves have no corroborating evidence
  • S1 must also corroborate and be corroborated by the system of statements which are accepted as true.

One should be cautious in attributing, without a rigorous analysis, a rigid set of criteria to all forms of judgment. Often this results in unnecessary restrictions to judgment methodologies, excluding what may otherwise be considered legitimate judgments. For analogous difficulties in science and the scientific method see the Wikipedia entry on the scientific method.

From the criteria mentioned above, we could judge that "It is raining" if there are raindrops hitting the window, if people outside are using umbrellas, and if there are clouds in the sky. Someone who says that despite all this, it is not raining, but cannot provide evidence for this, would not undermine our judgement.

However, if they demonstrated that there was a sophisticated projection and audio system to produce the illusion of our evidence, then we would probably reconsider our judgement. However, we would not do this lightly, we would demand evidence of the existence of such a system. Then it would need to be decided again upon available new evidence whether or not it was raining.

Many forms of judgement, including the above example, require that they be supported by, and support, known facts which are themselves well supported, and its negation must be shown to be unfounded, before it is accepted as well founded.

Tax Lien Certificate

A certificate of claim against property that has a lien placed upon it as a result of unpaid property taxes.

Government Tax Lien

Electronic Lien Filing – E-Lien

Privacy Impact Assessment – Electronic Lien Filing – E-Lien

E-Lien System Overview

The electronic lien process enables the Internal Revenue Service and the county recorder’s office to electronically process the Federal Notice of Tax Lien and lien release data in a more cost effective and timely manner.

The Internal Revenue Service in conjunction with the county of Los Angeles   and under the auspices of Compliance Policy has developed a method where the Federal Notice of Tax Lien will be sent in a flat file format via a File Transport Protocol (FTP) housed on a standalone Virtual Private Network (VPN).  This system is to be initially tested for one year in the Los Angeles Area and rolled out to other lien filing offices in California  upon completion of the test.

System of Records Number(s)

Treasury/ IRS 26.009 Lien Files (Open and Closed)
Treasury/ IRS 34.037 IRS Audit Trail and Security Records System

Data in the System

1. Describe the information (data elements and fields) available in the system in the following categories:

A. Taxpayer
B. Employee
C. Audit Trail Information (including employee log-in info)
D. Other (Describe

The taxpayer information contained in the E-Lien data base will originate from the Internal Revenue Service’s Automated Lien System ( ALS ). The lien recording information is provided by the County Recorders Offices.  The information contained on the Electronic Lien system is limited to Taxpayer, Employee, and County Recorders ' court information.

A. Taxpayer: Information about the taxpayer is limited to the Name, Address, Tax Identification Number, Date of Assessment, Amount of Assessment, Amount of Assessed Penalties and Interest, Place of Recordation, and date of release as appropriate.

B. Employee: Information about any IRS employee is limited to the Name, Title, and badge number of the employee.

C. The Automated Lien System maintains a log of all user access. Input of all electronic lien information is through the Automated lien system.

D.  Other: This data base will also contain related re-file of Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) information such as date of re-filing.  There is also the real possibility of liens containing names, address, and TIN of nominees (Legal Term used to identify a person or organization in whose name a security is registered though true ownership is held by another party),  and alter egos (second self) of taxpayers. While the nominee is an assertion that specific property(s) is held in a nominee name, the alter ego is an assertion that all property rights of a person and another distinct entity are indistinguishable. The usual situation is the use of a sham corporation or trust to shelter assets from creditors.

2. Describe/identify which data elements are obtained from files, databases, individuals, or any other sources.

B. Taxpayer
C. Employee
D. Other Federal Agencies (List agency)
E. State and Local Agencies (List agency)
F. Other third party sources (Describe)

The sources of information used consist of Automated Lien System and county recorders’ court data.

A.   IRS files and databases used: Automated Lien System.

B.  The IRS is the only Federal Agency providing data for use in the Electronic Lien system.

C.  Only the State and Local Agencies providing data for use in the system is the State of  California  and its County Recorders ' Offices.

D.  Other third party sources from which data will be collected:  NONE.

3.  Is each data item required for the business purpose of the system?  Explain.

This system will download a file from the Automated Lien System containing taxpayer assessment information: Type of Return, Year of Tax period, amount of assessment, penalties, and Interest, and total tax liability. This information is required by the Internal Revenue Code to be on file at the place and manner described by the state in which the lien is filed.

The county recorder information consists of a recording number identifying the Notice of Federal Tax Lien and applying a date and time of recording with the county recorder.  This information is required to determine the priority that the Internal Revenue has over other creditors of the taxpayer.

4. How will each data item be verified for accuracy, timeliness, and completeness?

Data collected from sources other than Internal Revenue Service records and the taxpayer will be verified electronically by comparing the recording information with the original filing request. All files from the county refer to specific lien requests initiated by the IRS . The two files are compared to insure that the filing data is limited to specific taxpayers.

5. Is there another source for the data?  Explain how that source is or is not used.

The Automated Lien System is the single source for obtaining Notice of Federal Tax Lien information. This system is used to print paper liens. The same information will be transmitted electronically to the county recorder that is currently provided in print.

6. Generally, how will data be retrieved by the user?

The Lien section clerk will sign onto the Automated Lien System and download a file prepared by the Automated Lien System consisting of all liens that need to be filed in the office of the Los Angeles County Recorder.

7. Is the data retrievable by a personal identifier such as name, SSN , or other unique identifier?

The data is not retrieved by personal identifier in the E-Lien System. The information is processed in a batch, not by individual taxpayer account.  LA county processes the data received from the E-Lien System by individual taxpayer identifier and applies specific recording information for that single taxpayer’s account.  The information is then batched in a delimited file and returned to the IRS for input into the Automated Lien System which then sorts and processes the data received from the county.  The IRS Electronic Lien employees processing the files received from the Automated Lien System cannot access individual accounts within the data file. The employees are the same employees that have access to the Automated Lien System. If they require access to individual accounts it would be through the Automated Lien System.  The Automated Lien System associates the batched data to individual accounts.

Access to the Data

8. Who will have access to the data in the system (Users, Managers, System Administrators, Developers, Others)?

The Automated Lien System users, including county employees and managers will have access to the Electronic Lien system. System Administrators will not have access. The National Office Automated Lien System programmers will have access.  The data is not retrievable by personal identifier will in the E-Lien System.

9. How is access to the data by a user determined and by whom?

Only authorized users of the Automated Lien System will be permitted to have passwords and privileges for the Electronic Lien system.  Users must request access and be approved by the system owner.  Access to the ALS System is established through use of On-line 5081.  Each employee must request access to the ALS .  Specific permissions (Read, Write, Modify, Delete, Print) are defined on the Form 5081 approved by manager and set (activated) by the SA or Functional Security Coordinator prior to the employee being allowed network and ALS access.

10. Do other IRS systems provide, receive, or share data in the system?  If YES, list the system(s) and describe which data is shared.  If NO, continue to Question 12.

Electronic filing data fed to this system from the county will be received via File Transport Protocol on the Virtual Private Network.  This information will consist of recording data for each lien submitted for filing by the IRS . This information will be transferred to a Compact Disk and loaded onto the Automated Lien System. No other IRS system will be involved in the transfer of data from the County.

11. Have the IRS systems described in Item 10 received an approved Security Certification and Privacy Impact Assessment?

Yes, the Automated Lien System PIA was certified 11/18/2003.

12.  Will other agencies provide, receive, or share data in any form with this system?

Yes, the Automated Lien System information will be downloaded to a Compact Disk and transported to a Virtual Private Network computer for transfer to the County.

Administrative Controls of Data

13.  What are the procedures for eliminating the data at the end of the retention period?

The file containing the E-file download from Automated Lien System will be stored in a secure container meeting the seven point security requirements. All CDs containing County recorder’s court information will be wiped clean after upload to ALS . Lien records are retained in the ALS database until one year after the lien has been released or satisfied per IRM 1.15.28 Records Control Schedule for Collection Item 43.  ALS has an internal purge utility that removes all lien records one year after they have been satisfied, or have expired due to statute limitation.  This is documented in the System Administrator’s Guide.

14.  Will this system use technology in a new way?  If "YES" describe.  If "NO" go to Question 15.

The Electronic Lien System will not be using any new technology.

15.  Will this system be used to identify or locate individual Automated Lien System or groups?  If so, describe the business purpose for this capability.

This system is not versatile, it cannot manipulate information. It can only send and receive files obtained from the Automated Lien System or the County.  These files will not be sorted on the Electronic Lien system.

16. Will this system provide the capability to monitor individual Automated Lien System or groups? If yes, describe the business purpose for this capability and the controls established to prevent unauthorized monitoring.  No.

17. Can use of the system allow IRS to treat taxpayers, employees, or others, differently?  Explain.

No. The system promotes equal treatment by restricting access and data manipulation. The system enables timely and efficient filing of the Notice of Federal Tax Lien.

18.  Does the system ensure "due process" by allowing affected parties to respond to any negative determination, prior to final action?

Yes, this system enhances the process of notification. The timely recordation of NFTL (Notice of Federal Tax Lien) information on the Automated Lien System will provide superior customer service by providing the taxpayer with specific recording information related to them. At present the IRS only informs the taxpayer of a pending notice of federal tax lien. This is superior to the existing paper process which requires manual exchange of information and takes an indeterminable amount of time to receive from the County. Due process is greatly enhanced.

19.  If the system is web-based, does it use persistent cookies or other tracking devices to identify web visitors?

Lien Release

The IRS will issue a Release of the Notice of Federal Tax Lien:

  • Within 30 days after you satisfy the tax due (including interest and other additions) by paying the debt or by having it adjusted, or
  • Within 30 days after we accept a bond that you submit, guaranteeing payment of the debt.

In addition, you must pay all fees that a state or other jurisdiction charges to file and release the lien. These fees will be added to the amount you owe. Refer to Publication 1450, Request for Release of Federal Tax Lien.

Usually 10 years after a tax is assessed, a lien releases automatically if we have not filed it again. If we knowingly or negligently do not release a Notice of Federal Tax Lien when it should be released, you may sue the federal government, but not IRS employees, for damages.

Payoff Amount

The full amount of your lien will remain a matter of public record until it is paid in full. However, at any time, you may request an updated lien payoff amount to show the remaining balance due. An IRS employee (either over the toll-free customer service telephone line, or at a walk-in service site, or at your local IRS ’ lien desk) can issue you a letter with the current amount due in order to release a lien.

Lien Discharge


Applying for a Discharge of a Federal Tax Lien

If you are giving up ownership of property, such as when you sell your home, you may apply for a Certificate of Discharge. Each application for a discharge of a tax lien releases the effects of the lien against one piece of property. Note that when certain conditions exist, a third party may also request a Certificate of Discharge. If you're selling your primary residence, you may apply for a taxpayer relocation expense allowance. Certain conditions and limitations apply. Refer to Publication 783, Instructions on How to Apply for a Certificate of Discharge of Property from the Federal Tax Lien.

Lien Subordination - Making the IRS Lien Secondary to Another Lien

In some cases, a federal tax lien can be made secondary to another lien. That process is called subordination. Refer to Publication 784, How to Prepare Application for Certificate of Subordination of Federal Tax Lien.

Withdrawing liens

By law, a filed notice of tax lien can be withdrawn if:

  • The notice was filed too soon or not according to IRS procedures,
  • You entered into an installment agreement to pay the debt on the notice of lien (unless the agreement provides otherwise),
  • Withdrawal will speed collecting the tax, or
  • Withdrawal would be in your best interest (as determined by the Taxpayer Advocate), and in the best interest of the government.

We will give you a copy of the withdrawal, and if you write to us, we will send a copy to other institutions you name.


For information on IRS tax liens:


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