When a person owes federal taxes that they cannot pay or refuse to pay, a tax lien in favor of the United States can attach to their rights to personal and real property. In general, a tax lien will automatically arise when the following events have occurred:
- A valid tax assessment has been made;
- Notice of that assessment has been given to the taxpayer; and
- The Taxpayer has failed to pay the amount assessed within ten days after notice and demand.
If these events have occurred, the tax lien arises automatically and the lien can relate back to the date of the tax assessment. Consequently, a tax lien can attach to the taxpayer's property without their knowledge. These liens are sometimes referred to as secret liens because only the IRS knows of its existence. Once the tax lien arises, it can continue until the tax liability is satisfied or until the underlying tax liability is unenforceable by way of the statute of limitations.
If you or someone you know has had a tax lien attach to their property, a tax lawyer may be able to help resolve this issue. Contact Pruett Tax Law to discuss your tax situation and discuss possible resolutions.