Definition of Tax Lien | Government Lien Due to Unpaid Taxes

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Tax Lien Definition

Term Definition
A tax lien gives the IRS the rights to property owned by a person who has failed to pay their taxes on time.

Extended Definition
When a taxpayer does not remit at least $10,000 of their taxes owed, the government can file a tax lien against them. The tax lien secures the IRS’s rights to that person’s property, as well as to property they may purchase in the future. A tax lien does not let the government seize a person’s property. However, if a delinquent taxpayer sells their property, the IRS collect the profits as payment. A Notice of Federal Tax Lien filed by the IRS alerts creditors of the tax debt until the lien is lifted.

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What Is a Tax Lien?

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