A state tax lien is the government’s legal claim against your property when you don’t pay your tax debt in full. Your property includes real estate, personal property and other financial assets. When a lien is issued by us, it gets recorded in the county records where you live. We issue liens after the following:
- Your assessed tax liability remains unpaid;
- We've sent a bill explaining how much you owe (Notice and Demand for Payment).
How to avoid a lien
Avoid a tax lien by paying your taxes in full and on time. If you can't file or pay on time, don't ignore the letters you get from us. Payment options are available. But, entering into a payment plan won't stop a lien from recording in county records.
How to get a lien released
Paying your debt in full is the best option to get a lien released. We'll send a lien release to the county where recorded within 30 days of your full payment.
When it's in the best interest for the state and the taxpayer, there may be other options to release a lien. Contact our Collections Department if you're going through a property sale, a refinance, or a loan modification.
Release of specific property
This release removes a lien from a specific piece of property, but the lien continues to remain on all other property. You must be in the process of selling a home or purchasing a home through a foreclosure to qualify.
A “Subordination" allows other creditors to move ahead of us on the title report. It doesn’t remove the lien, but it may make it easier to get a loan or mortgage refinanced or modified.
How a lien affects you
- Assets — liens attach to all current and future assets acquired during the duration of the lien.
- Credit — if a credit bureau reports the lien on your credit report, it may limit your ability to get credit, including federal student aid programs.
- Bankruptcy —your tax debt and lien may continue after bankruptcy.
How a lien gets on a credit report
Credit bureaus get county lien records and place the information onto the credit report. We don’t have the authority to alter your credit report, and can’t remove a lien for you.
Lien vs. garnishment
A lien establishes our ability to issue a garnishment if you don’t pay or enter into a payment plan. A garnishment takes physical property to pay the tax debt. If you don’t pay or make arrangements, we can garnish or seize and sell the real or personal property that you own or have an interest in now or in the future.