IRS raises threshold for imposing tax liens

The IRS recently announced that it will adjust its use of tax liens to collect back taxes. A federal tax lien gives the IRS a claim on a delinquent taxpayer’s property for unpaid taxes.

This change means the IRS won’t use a tax lien unless at least $10,000 in back taxes is owed; the previous threshold had been $5,000.

In addition, the IRS says it will “withdraw” more tax liens once the back taxes have been paid. A withdrawal removes the lien from the taxpayer’s credit record, whereas a lien “release” as previously used left the lien on the credit record for at least seven years. Having a tax lien on a taxpayer’s credit record can knock 100 points off the individual’s credit score. The IRS estimates that the new rules mean that “tens of thousands of people won’t be burdened by liens.”

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