Tax Lien Release Regulations Issued by Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has published final regulations on releases of federal tax liens and discharges of property. These regulations provide rules for how to go about obtaining the release of a federal tax lien after the tax debt has been paid, or in situations where the statute of limitations on collecting the tax liability has expired.

The regulations also provide rules for obtaining tax lien releases in other situations. For example the IRS may issue a certificate of discharge if the IRS interest in the specific property subject to the IRS tax lien is worthless. This can be useful if you own real property which you would like to sell, but is encumbered by an IRS tax lien. Say your property is worth $500,000, and there is a first mortage of $550,000, followed by an IRS tax lien for $300,000. You would like to sell the property, and the bank has agreed to a short sale. The title company will not issue title insurance, and therefore you want be able to close on the sale without a release from the IRS. The regulations allow for the issuance of a certificate of discharge in this circumstance because the value of the IRS lien is zero. However, it can take some persuasion to get the IRS to issue the certificate of discharge, and the IRS is not required to issue the certificate. Our experience is that the IRS can take 30 days or more to issue a discharge of the tax lien. We recommend applying for a certificate of discharge as soon as you know you want to sell the property.

An important change to the final regulations requires to issue a certificate of release of the tax lien in situations where only one year of a multi-year tax lien has been satisfied. For example, the IRS may have filed a tax lien for the years 2000 through 2004. If you paid the tax for the year 2000, the IRS would not issue a tax lien release for the 2000 year. Under the new regulations the IRS is required to do so.

If you have tax liens and tax levies in excess of $75,000 call the California tax lawyers at Brager Tax Law Group, A P.C.

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