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What to know about a tax lien

If a Georgia resident fails to pay a federal tax bill in a timely manner, the IRS may place a lien on that person's property. This helps to ensure that the government will get the money that it is owed. Tax liens are only imposed after a taxpayer has been notified of the existing balance and has been given a chance to pay it.

Creditors are alerted to the lien, and the easiest way to get rid of it is to pay the tax bill in full. Once it has been paid, the lien is released within 30 days. In some cases, the government and the taxpayer can come to an agreement on a lighter type of lien. This may result in a lien only being placed on certain property or it taking a subordinate role to other existing liens.

A lien may be withdrawn without the full balance being paid if a taxpayer enters into a direct debit installment agreement. Such an option may be available to those who owe $25,000 or less, can pay the balance within 60 months and stay current with all other tax liabilities. In many cases a lien continues even if a taxpayer files for bankruptcy, and it may impact a person's ability to get credit in the future.

Those who have a tax lien placed on their property may have difficulty selling it or using it to secure a loan. In such a scenario, it may be worthwhile for a taxpayer to ask a tax attorney to try to negotiate with the government to get a lien removed.

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