What is a Tax Lien?
What is a Tax Lien?

Tax liens are serious derogatory marks that occur when you neglect or fail to pay a tax debt. Here’s what you need to know if you have a tax lien on your credit report.

What is a tax lien?

A tax lien is the government's claim against your assets when you fail to pay a tax debt. If the IRS assesses your liability, sends a notice to demand repayment, and you fail to respond within ten days, the IRS can then file a tax lien against your property and attach it to all of your assets, including your home, car, and business. The IRS also notifies your creditors that there is a tax lien against your property, which prevents you from selling or borrowing against your property until you pay your taxes.

How does it affect my credit?

Like other public records, tax liens can easily knock 100 points off your score. You can estimate how a tax lien will affect your specific score by checking out our Credit Simulator.

In addition to lowering your score, tax liens can also hurt your ability to be approved for new credit and loans, hike up your interest rates, and increase premiums on your insurance policy.

How do I remove a tax lien from my credit report?

Unlike other public records that drop off your report eventually, unpaid tax liens will remain on your report indefinitely.

Because of this, the best way to get rid of a tax lien is to pay your tax debt in full. If the lien has been paid, it will stay on your report for seven years from the date it was paid. Make sure that your report states that it has been paid or settled to minimize the impact on your report and score.

The IRS offers several payment options that could help keep a tax lien at bay. Take advantage of those options and try to avoid a tax lien at all costs.

After the seven years, the tax lien should drop from your report. If it doesn't, you have the right to dispute it.


All Comments
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Helpful to 215 out of 239 people

i dont owe the irs anything at all,and what was owed in the past was taken directly from my refund, plus i didnt even know about a tax lien against me.

Comment by
eboniejewel

1 Contribution
215 People Helped
Helpful to 57 out of 75 people

Same thing happened to me. I owded the IRS back taxes from 2001 and they placed a 'lien' against property that I never owned, and took the debt that I owed from my tax returns, now it's paid off and this mark is STILL on my credit report.

Reply by
GHale1971

1 Contribution
57 People Helped
Helpful to 8 out of 10 people

I do not owe the IRS, how do I get this removed?

Reply by
Debbiek722

1 Contribution
8 People Helped
Helpful to 37 out of 54 people

I do not owe any taxes.

Reply by
karlafood

1 Contribution
37 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

this was a mistake from the irs. i use h&r block and they took care of this by writing a letter to straighten out the mistake of the irs because they gave the number we were soppust to use because of my disablity

Reply by
1Mochaa1

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Sameway here I don't owe anything I have no idea why they reported me .I have kids they are always oweing me money ,not me ,I need help please what can i do ?

Reply by
ARANROSALIND

3 Contributions
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

i didnt know about the 2 tax liens against me, good to be able to see whats on your credit report. Right now is one of the hardest times concerning money, and i would not be able to even see this information about me. So i Truely Thank "Credit Karma" for being there for me when i really need'd it.  Ps. it was just like you said FREE  

Thanks  :)

Reply by
lizzytu

2 Contributions
1 Person Helped

The exact same thing happened to me,  What do i do????  :(  

Reply by
Dekanova

1 Contribution
0 People Helped
Helpful to 5 out of 10 people

I was in the Navy when the state of California says I didn't pay my taxes.  I have sent them my tax returns and everything! And this is still on here.  I need to call the IRS cause this is a major mastake....

Reply by
Maddashell

1 Contribution
5 People Helped
Helpful to 0 out of 1 people

Everything was paid last year

Reply by
M714

1 Contribution
0 People Helped
Helpful to 77 out of 84 people

Ok, here's some info:

1. the IRS doesn't have to contact you about liens - just the way it is! If you owe money, contact them first! They're much more helpful when you do :)

2. Tax liens might not be from the IRS, but from the state for unpaid STATE taxes. You need to check that out too.

3. If you're in a payment plan with the IRS - good for you for doing what needs to be done! They will help you - don't go to a debt consolidation company as it will ruin your credit for a long time. (been there, done that!)

4. This article is general info, not specific to your case - you have to be proactive and take care of it yourself.

Hope this helps :)

Comment by
Watchthatcredit

1 Contribution
77 People Helped
Helpful to 3 out of 7 people

What steps do we take to take care of this.  Do we write a letter is there a website?

Reply by
kmmrs

1 Contribution
3 People Helped
Helpful to 134 out of 153 people

I am not aware of any federal tax lien.  No notice has been received.  It would be more possible to address this if I I was made aware of it.

Comment by
ecurb

1 Contribution
134 People Helped
Helpful to 49 out of 61 people

I am not aware of anything because I have not been informed.

Reply by
sharleen19

1 Contribution
49 People Helped
Helpful to 36 out of 45 people

Same happened to me; seems to be a pattern of which there is no excuse for NOT notifying. They have no problem notifying thr credit bureaus.

Reply by
19pcga51

1 Contribution
36 People Helped

I was not aware of any tax lien because I never had any previous notice from them but as soon as I saw this on my credit history,I contacted them immediately and made a full payment, yet this is still on my credit history

Reply by
luvkarim

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

This is all new to me since I NEVER received ANY NOTICES, this is been placed on my credit report IN ERROR.  

Reply by
Moviebuff53

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

What did you do to clear it up?

Reply by
Lfen1949

1 Contribution
0 People Helped
Helpful to 44 out of 50 people

This has got to be a mistake.  I have never had a tax lien, nor was one ever brought to my attention.  Every single dime that I had owed the government has been paid through a withholding of a tax return.  What are they trying to pull here?  I will investigate this matter quickly.

Comment by
cybdisco

1 Contribution
44 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 2 people

anyone have a cotact number to call and find out 

Reply by
christina11280

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 13 out of 15 people

This is bull****, I paid my taxes that I owed already.  And it is still going to show for seven years!  Thats bull****!  This is why we need to reconstuct the IRS and some of there bull**** rules.  But yet when the IRS makes a mistake with your taxes, they take there time to pay you back! 

Comment by
roadsterman

1 Contribution
13 People Helped

thats right

Reply by
sunshine1965

1 Contribution
0 People Helped
Helpful to 24 out of 30 people

I also have not been made aware of any tax leins.  All taxes have been paid in full.

Comment by
ricklap

1 Contribution
24 People Helped
Helpful to 15 out of 25 people

i called to and the tax people cant find anything... what do i do

Reply by
lawilliams1973

1 Contribution
15 People Helped
Helpful to 17 out of 22 people

I have never had a tax lein..ever.  I don't know where this came from.

Comment by
psychokat

1 Contribution
17 People Helped
Helpful to 10 out of 13 people

I have paid IRS all past taxes owed as of August 2013 Leon still shows up as unpaid wonder how long it will take IRS to show paid?

Comment by
Movie123

1 Contribution
10 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 3 people

Ow much do I OwenOwen

Reply by
Guerrerojarolis

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 10 out of 14 people

I have not been made aware of a tax lien.  This is not right.  And should not be on my credit. B

Comment by
tashadog123

1 Contribution
10 People Helped
Helpful to 7 out of 10 people

I like many others never received any notice about a tax lien. I have not received a tax return in many years and would like to know how to go about getting this matter taken care of. Also how do I settle any other negative reports that are against me. I.e. how do I find out the company or collection agency that may have a collection hold against me. Thx in advance.

Comment by
TMYGUN76

1 Contribution
7 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 2 people

You need to first pull all 3 reports from experian equifax and transunion. You can do this once a year for free. at www.myfreeannualcreditreport.com That will show what accounts are in collection. And which collection agencies are holding those accounts.I would suggest you dont acknowledge the debt over the phone as this is being recorded and can start the clock again on old debts. Tell them to send any paperwork to you for review. Then negotiate a lower payment as settlement asking in writing to have it removed once the debt has been satisfied. Hope this gives you insight into your approach in addressing your credit ..

Top Contributor

Reply by
gatorman

11 Contributions
16 People Helped
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