September 15, 2016 by Jay Freeborne

In our 28 year-plus history representing people with tax problems: the most frequent question we get from clients is: how do I get the tax lien removed? 

Tax liens - or judgements -- are filed by the IRS when someone has been assessed a tax liability that they haven't paid. Tax liens usually are filed when the balance due is north of $20,000.00. These liens usually migrate to your county courthouse and are recorded against any real estate that you might have. Tax liens do complicate - a. real estate transactions and b. in this day and age - employment. They're meant to be a headache - otherwise - why would the IRS file them?

So...how do tax liens get removed?  

Here are a few ways:

1. The tax liens expire -- If you can run out the clock, taxes generally will expire 10 years after they are assessed. There are a number of ways -- that the clock can extend past 10 years -- a. you file bankruptcy during the 10 years b. you file an Offer in Compromise (and it is rejected). c. the IRS has you sign a waiver extending the statute of limitations (not very common anymore).

2. An Offer in Compromise is reached and the debt is settled.  (Everything you might want to know about Offers is here: Offer - Rule Changes - 2016.

3. The tax debt is brought below $25,000.00. If you can pay your debt down under $25,000 - the IRS will remove the lien.

4. The tax debt is paid in full.  Why of course :) It's worth noting that a tax lien is usually filed --  a. when the Offer in Compromise process begins - and removed later AND also when b. you are placed into currently-not-collectible.

5. You get the debt below $50,000 and enter an installment agreement.  This streamline agreement is for people who have NOT had a tax lien filed against them YET...(If you already have a lien against you -- you won't have it removed).

Tax lien on your record? Want an honest opinion on your options? Call us at 1-888-282-4697 or EMAIL us a description of your tax issue HERE and we'll discuss strategies to get it resolved via email/phone.  The Staff of Washington Tax Services

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