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What is a Tax Lien?

If you owe back taxes, the IRS and/or state agencies can and will, if ignored, issue a tax lien on any or all your assets after they meet certain statutory requirements.

A tax lien is generally defined as a legal claim against the taxpayer’s property for the satisfaction of a taxpayer’s debt. Tax liens can potentially be attached to all of your assets, depending on the total tax amount owed. A tax lien enables the IRS to enforce their claim by administratively levying or seizing your assets outright.

Although tax liens are drafted everyday in the United States, tax liens are not the first or normal course of business for the Internal Revenue Service. In fact, a tax lien is probably one of the final, last-ditch actions the IRS undertakes to collect taxes. Why is that? The reason is simple and can be useful for a tax attorney if for have a tax lien. Any tax lien the IRS issues comes with countless pages of paperwork, and the IRS must define a just cause which can be challenged by a competent tax attorney through a number of in-place processes created by the IRS themselves.

So why then would the IRS consider issuing tax liens at all? It’s very simple. In most cases, a tax lien is only issued when a taxpayer persistently ignores an IRS representative when they attempt to get your attention by mail, by phone or in person. IRS tax liens only occur when a continued and persistent lack of communication exists from the taxpayer’s side when attempt to collect a tax debt are ignored. It is a last-ditch effort where the IRS has to play “hardball.”

Obviously, choosing to work with the IRS before they issue a tax lien is the best course of action. Making a decision to finally respond when a tax lien is threatened would be the next best choice. Once a tax lien is issued, the IRS is, understandably, reluctant to modify or release it. Once a lien is enforced, and property is attached, it is very difficult to remove. If you are facing the threat of a tax lien hanging over you now is the time to contact an experienced Orange County Tax Attorney before the IRS levies your assets. If you have already had your assets levied, Tax Lawyer Paul W. Raymond can open negotiations with the IRS to attempt to get the tax levy removed.

Meet Paul Raymond

Meet Paul Raymond

Mr. Raymond is a sought after speaker in tax controversy law by many attorney, accountant, and business groups and at the request of the Internal Revenue Service, has presented programs at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum, attended by tax professionals throughout the United States.

Additionally, he continues to be an active member in the Section of Taxation, American Bar Association, where he was the Past Chair of the Employment Taxes Committee.

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Member CA Bar Member Orange County Bar US Tax Court Attorney