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What is a Tax Lien? LifeBack Tax
If the government encounters difficulty in collecting past due taxes, they may file a tax lien to place a secured claim on the delinquent taxpayer's property and assets. Tax liens are one of several tactics used by federal, state, or local tax authorities to collect unpaid back taxes from delinquent taxpayers. Similarly to a lien for a private loan, a tax lien grants the government the legal right to seize the taxpayer's assets as collateral if the tax debt remains unpaid. A tax lien should not be confused with a tax levy, which involves the actual seizure of the taxpayer's assets.
A tax lien attaches to all of the taxpayer's assets, including real property, financial assets, and business assets. It can also attach to any property that was obtained after the tax lien was filed. A federal tax lien usally takes priority over any unsecured creditors' claims. It may yield to a prior established lien that is attached to specific property, such as a state property tax lien attached to a taxpayer's house,while maintaing its claim to the taxpayer's other assets.
Before a federal tax lien can be filed, the IRS first contacts the taxpayer by mail to demand payment for past due taxes. If the taxpayer does not respond within ten days, the IRS may then opt to file a notice of federal tax lien against the taxpayer's assets. This notice is publicly recorded to alert other creditors of the IRS's claim to the taxpayer's property. State tax authorities generally follow a similar process when filing a state tax lien, though the exact procedure and timeframe varies from state to state. State laws also may not offer taxpayers the same protections from state tax liens that the IRS would offer with a federal tax lien. Both federal and state tax liens may result in levies if the taxpayer does not or cannot pay their past due taxes.
Tax liens enter public records, discouraging creditors from offering loans. Generally, taxpayers are unable to sell or refinance assets that a tax lien is attached to, preventing individuals from obtaining a mortgage for a new house or car. Tax liens can especially cripple businesses, preventing them from securing new loans or selling property to obtain funding. Furthermore, a tax lien may be listed on the taxpayer's credit report for up to 10 years, severely impacting their credit score and financial standing.
We at LifeBack Tax are committed to protecting taxpayers and their assets from the government. We recognize how intimidating a tax lien can be for a struggling taxpayer, and can negotiate on your behalf to have your tax lien partially discharged or fully withdrawn before the IRS or your state takes its next step.
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