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  • Writer's pictureBrian Barto

Understanding Federal Tax Liens | By Brian Barto, EA | Winchester, VA

Tax Debt Resolution Services of Winchester, VA LLC

The IRS automatically issues Tax Lien once a taxpayer has been notified of a tax debt and fails to pay. There are 3 pre-requisites to a valid federal tax lien

  1. The IRS has assessed the tax liability

  2. The taxpayer has been notified of the amount due and a demand for payment has been issued. (IRS billing notice sent to taxpayer in the mail.)

  3. The taxpayer has failed to pay within 10 days of the notice.

A Federal Tax Lien is very powerful. The tax lien attaches to all assets the taxpayer owns, AND all assets the taxpayer acquires in the future. In most cases the taxpayer will not even realize that a lien has been placed. If the tax debt is greater than $10,000, then the IRS will issue a Notice of Federal Tax Lien. The Notice of Federal Tax Lien is a public document filed to alert third parties that the taxpayer owes the IRS.The IRS will file the Notice of Federal Tax Lien in 3 places:

  1. At the town hall for the jurisdiction where the taxpayer resides

  2. In the land records where the taxpayer resides

  3. With the Secretary of State in the taxpayer’s state of residence.

Unfortunately, if the taxpayer owes greater than $10,000, there is little the taxpayer can do to prevent the lien being filed against them. Taxpayer should contact the IRS or a competent Tax Debt Resolution Specialist to determine options to resolve the tax issue. Resolution options include Offers in Compromise, several variations of Installment Agreements (payment plans) and getting the debt designated as Uncollectible.

Once the tax issue is resolved (meaning compromised, discharged, or paid off), the liens will be released, generally in 30 days. If the taxpayer is deemed uncollectible or is paying back the debt with an installment agreement, the liens will stay in place until the tax debt is paid or the collection statute expires. The IRS collection statute is for 10 years. IRS liens are “self-releasing.” Once the 10-year collection statute has expired, the lien is released automatically. Certain actions taken by the taxpayer could cause an extension to the 10-year statute. These actions include:

  1. Bankruptcy

  2. Offer in Compromise

  3. Request for Collection Due Process Hearing

  4. Request for Installment Agreement

At Tax Debt Resolution Services of Winchester VA, our mission is to help you eliminate your IRS issues and the stress the IRS has created in your life and help you get back to doing what you do best! We help our clients in Winchester VA, Strasburg VA, Martinsburg WV and Charles Town WV to resolve their tax debts!. If you need assistance please feel free to contact me at 540-300-1988 or

Brian Barto, 24 Weems Lane, Winchester, VA 22601.


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