What Is a Certificate of Release of a Federal Tax Lien?

by Denise Caldwell ; Updated July 27, 2017

The Internal Revenue Service expects all taxpayers to pay the full amount of tax owed on or before the April 15 deadline. If the tax is not paid, the IRS will take enforcement action which includes the assessment of penalties and interest, liens and levies.

Significance

A lien is a claim against your assets which could include, but is not limited to your home, car, boat, business or account.

Process

Once the IRS mails a demand letter to a taxpayer and the taxpayer does not pay or make arrangements to pay within 10 days, the IRS will issue a lien against the taxpayer’s assets.

Lien Release

The lien will be released no later than 30 days after the debt was paid in full. The taxpayer will then be mailed a certificate of lien release to confirm that the lien has been removed. If you have paid the IRS in full but have not received a certificate of lien release, call the IRS at (800) 913-6050.

Appeals

Taxpayers who believe that the IRS issued a lien on their assets in error can request an appeal by completing IRS Form 12153 and mailing it to the Office of Appeals.

Warning

If a taxpayer does not pay the full amount owed on the lien or make arrangements to pay, the IRS may issue a levy on the taxpayer’s assets. A levy is a legal seizure of a taxpayer’s property to satisfy the back taxes owed.

About the Author

Denise Caldwell is a finance writer who has been writing on taxation and finance since 2006. Her articles appear regularly on websites such as Gomestic.com and MoneyNing.com. She has taken what she learned while working at the IRS to provide readers with helpful tax and finance tips. Caldwell received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Howard University.

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