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State tax liens

What is a state tax lien?

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. A state tax lien may be recorded in the county record in which you own real property.

We may also record a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien with the Oregon Secretary of State. A UCC lien may be attached to business assets (e.g., farming equipment, heavy machinery, construction equipment). A UCC lien enables us to seize the listed property to recoup balances owed to the state.

We issue state tax liens after we’ve issued a Distraint Warrant and the balance remains unpaid.

How a lien affects you

  • Assets: Liens attach to all current and future assets acquired during the duration of the lien.
  • Credit: It may limit your ability to get credit.
  • Bankruptcy: Your tax debt and lien may continue after bankruptcy.
  • Business: The lien attaches to all business property and to all rights to business property, including accounts receivable.

How to avoid a lien

  • Pay your taxes in full and on time.

  • If you can't file or pay on time, payment options are available. Automatic Clearing House (ACH) payment plans which pay your debt in full within 36 months prevent the automatic recording of a lien in county records.

Note: We reserve the right to record a lien if we deem it necessary to protect the state’s interest.

How to get a lien released

  • Lien Release: Pay your debt in full. We'll send a lien release to the county where it is recorded within 30 days of payment in full.
  • Partial Release: This removes a lien from a specific piece of property, but the lien remains on all your other real property. In general, a partial release will not be approved if subordinate lien holder(s), or taxpayer are to receive money prior to payment in full of department liens. We require specific documents to consider a partial release of lien including but not limited to:
    • A written request for a Partial Release of Specific Property with explanation of circumstances of the transfer, a description of the terms of the transaction, and the reason for the release.
    • Documentation that the taxpayer is not receiving any funds.
    • Preliminary title report, with legal property description.
    • Estimated Closing Agreement/Statement. (e.g., HUD) along with the modification agreement.

    • Amount of payment the department will receive for consideration of the release of specific property (even if the amount is $0.00).

    • A list of department lien(s) on the specific property, including county recording numbers and dates for all warrants/liens to be included in the release of specific property.

    • Requesting party contact person phone number, fax number, and mailing address for delivery of documents. (If the document needs to be overnighted, we will need the FedEx/UPS account number or a shipping label).

    • If there is a levy from the IRS, a copy of the recorded document.

  • When it's in the best interest for the state and the taxpayer, there may be other options to release a lien. Contact us if you have further questions.


A “Subordination" allows other creditors to move ahead of us on a title report. It doesn’t remove the lien, but it may make it easier to get a loan or mortgage refinanced or modified.

We require specific documents to approve a subordination. Refer to the list of documents above under partial release of lien. 

Lien vs. garnishment

A lien is not a garnishment. A lien secures the state’s interest in your property when you don’t pay your tax debt.

A garnishment takes property or assets to pay the tax debt. If you don’t pay in full or set up a payment plan, we can garnish, seize, and/or sell the real or personal property that you own or have an interest in.

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