Get Rid of an IRS Tax Lien – Withdrawal or Release?

Have you ever wondered if it is possible to get rid of an IRS Tax Lien? Several options are available to deal with a Federal Tax Lien. Read more below.

IRS Tax Liens Can Be Disruptive.

Federal Tax liens are not only  imposing because they tell the world you ran into trouble with the IRS. Not only will an IRS tax lien lead to the eventual barrage of letters and faux “notices” from Tax Resolution “Experts,” but tax liens also hurt your credit, tax liens hurt your reputation, and tax liens make it hard to sell certain property that the lien is filed against.

The truth is that – as soon as a liability is finally assessed – the IRS has a “secret lien” on all of a taxpayer’s assets. This simply means that in certain circumstances, even without an actual public filing, the IRS will have a secured, priority, interest in the tangible property and real property of a taxpayer. (But that’s a boring legal discussion we won’t get in to here.)

When people discuss “getting rid of a tax lien” they are generally talking about getting rid of the public notice of their tax problems, or at least mitigating the damage called by that public notice.

There are several different options for dealing with a federal tax lien, and best strategy depends on each taxpayer’s particular situation and desired outcome.

Obtaining a Release of Federal Tax Lien

Obtaining a release of a federal tax lien is one way to “get rid of” an IRS lien but that might not be the best result. Why is that? When a tax lien is “released” the record of the original tax lien will stay on a taxpayer’s credit report for several years. Simply obtaining a lien release will not fully mitigate the damage to your credit, because the evidence that the lien existed will still be out there.

Despite its short-comings, a lien release is often the only option available when dealing with an IRS lien. Payment in full of a liability or an accepted Offer in Compromise will result in the release of a tax lien. Tax liens are also generally “self-releasing” after the Statute of Limitations of Collection has expired. The IRS will also consider releasing a tax lien if you or your representative can show that the release will actually increase your ability to pay the IRS. However – don’t expect the IRS to release a lien on a mere promise to pay, the IRS will need more than your assurances to issue a lien release when the tax liability has not been paid in full and the debt is still enforceable.

“Erasing” a IRS Lien via a Lien Withdrawal.

As part of the IRS’s recent (but no longer new) Fresh Start Program, tax lien withdrawals are now more common than they were previously. Although the IRS does provide some forms and guidance on, the process can trip up the uninitiated. (For one, it might require several conversations with IRS employees and unbearably long hold times.) The major benefit to a Tax Lien Withdrawal by the IRS is that – as far as credit reporting agencies are concerned – it is as if the lien never existed. If you want that IRS lien off your credit, that might be possible. If you think that you can pay your liability quickly, or even if you need some time to pay your tax liability off, you should speak with a tax professional about the possibility of a lien withdrawal before you attempt to settle up with the IRS on your own. Simply paying you tax bill will result in a lien release and as discussed above – the tax lien filing may stay on your credit history.


If you are having financial troubles caused by a notice of federal tax lien filing, you should speak with a tax professional. Consider speaking with a real tax attorney. Feel free to schedule a 20-minute phone call with our tax attorney or call us at 203-740-1400 for more information.


attorneys for young professionals

Attorneys for Young Professionals

Attorneys for Young Professionals

Let us be your lawyers for life!

At G&G Law, LLC, we are a firm comprised of three attorneys in their thirties. As young professionals ourselves, we are able to cater to other young professionals such as doctors, nurses, financial advisers, accountants, insurance agents, real estate agents, teachers and professors, life and success coaches, etc. Our young professional clients appreciate our ability to communicate on their level, use technology to improve the flow of information and their overall attorney experience, and in general understand the hardships and demands of the modern landscape for young professionals.

Below are some of the practice areas we serve and some examples of how we help our young professional clients meet their needs within those areas of law.

Business Formation, Planning & Licensing

Whether you just graduated school or have been working for somebody else gaining experience, you may be looking to open your own business or practice. One of the things they don’t teach you in grad school, and that your previous employers are not likely to share with you, is how to start, plan and run a business. Many of our first encounters with our young professional clients are when they are trying to go out on their own but don’t know how to handle much of the business paperwork that was previous done on their behalf. Should they form a partnership, an LLC or a corporation? How should they handle partners or investors? Are they allowed to have partners or investors under State laws? What licensing will they need? What types of insurance will they need? What contracts do they need to sign with their clients and customers? How about a business plan to seek funding? Should they be charging sales tax?

We can assist our clients by identifying all of the needs of their business, the barriers it will have to get over, and how we will attack those barriers. We have the knowledge, experience and software to meet all the business law needs of our young professional clients.

Real Estate – Purchases, Sales & Refinance

Many young professionals are beginning to reap the fruits of their labor; they are finally starting to make decent money after years of education and training. One of the first things many think about, and perhaps the most important purchase of their life, is buying a home. Whether buying a condominium or a house, there are many specific considerations that go into the legal process of buying a home. As first time homeowners, young professionals need a little extra help when buying their first home. Our real estate attorneys are ready to guide our clients from contract signing to closing.

Perhaps the young professional bought a home before they were making good money, and now their income and credit score have improved. It might be a good idea to consider a refinance, lowering your interest rate and perhaps the length of the mortgage, saving you lots of money over the life of the loan. Or maybe they want to sell their condo and buy a house – we can manage a sale and purchase for the same day!

Wills, Estate Planning and Probate

Until they begin working in their profession and building up wealth, many young professionals do not feel like they own anything worth putting into a will, so many do not consider an estate plan. First, you should always have an estate plan, even if that plan is to not draft documents and allow the laws of intestacy (dying without a will) control the distribution of your assets. Second, once the money starts rolling in and the young professional owns a car, has a home, marries and has kids, the issue of what will happen to their money and will it provide for those they care about becomes very important. Young professionals also need special considerations in the modern age: child protection plans, social media property distribution, and an increased need for privacy are just some of those considerations.

As we age so do our loved ones, such as our parents and grandparents. Issues such as the need for special needs trusts or probate estate administration after the death of a loved one begin to arise. Our firm can handle the estate planning and administration needs of multiple generations; and we hope to serve the next generation too (the children of our current young professional clients).

Tax Planning & Resolution

With increasing wealth come higher taxes. The more you make the more you pay; unless you can spend it properly by investing in the future of your business. Our tax attorney can review your industry, financial situation, assets and liabilities and advise you of the most tax-advantaged ways to put your money to use.

Some young professionals have also already dug a hole for themselves with the IRS or State. Perhaps you had a job as a waiter, and now you have unpaid or unclaimed income tax debts due to the IRS. Maybe you improperly set up your service business, did not charge sales tax on the services you provided, and now the CT DRS is coming after you for uncollected or unremitted Sales & Use Tax debts. Our tax resolution attorneys can help you appeal government determinations, comply with audits, and resolve your tax debts using an array of methods available to those who know and understand tax law and procedures.

Family Law – Divorce & Child Custody

Sometimes we make decisions when we are younger that we spend our entire lives dealing with. An error only becomes a mistake if you do nothing to fix it. The impact of such decisions can be minimized. Whether you are in an early marriage that has become unhappy or abusive or you are seeking child custody or a modification of the custody agreement due to a change in circumstances, our family law attorney is ready to assist with your family matters in a way that has the least negative impact on the family relationship.

Young Professionals Need Proper Representation

At G&G Law, LLC, we know the modern landscape and how treacherous it can seem. Young professionals are the future of the the middle class and upper middle class, and will be the backbone of the United States in the decades to come. Without proper planning and guidance, the years of education, training and labor in your industry could be jeopardized.

As a young professional, you need to protect your property, your money, and your family; but most importantly yourself. As attorneys for young professionals, we help our clients review their life situation, not just their one individual need at that moment. We want to help you make the right legal decisions, place the right planning into action before it is too late, and get out of hot water if the need arises.

No matter what your needs as a young professional are, we are here to help; even if it does not fall into our area of expertise, we will help find you the right attorney to handle your needs. If you need our help, contact us today by calling 203-740-1400.

The IRS Wants Your Passport

Owe the IRS more than $50,000.00? You might want to hold off on making those travel plans.

If you were to assume that a transportation bill would not have a direct impact on tax policy in the United States, you would be making a reasonable assumption, but you would be wrong. Tucked away into a transportation bill that sailed through the house and senate last week, and was signed into law on Friday, is a provision regarding the revocation of passports and the denial of a passport applications for any taxpayer with a “seriously delinquent tax debt.”

What is a “seriously delinquent tax debt”?

Any taxpayer who owes the IRS more than $50,000.00 is at risk of losing his privilege to travel outside of the United States if either: 1) a lien has been filed on the underlying tax liability and the taxpayer no longer has the right to file for a Collection Due Process hearing (because 35 days have passed) and no Collection Due Process hearing is pending for the liability, OR 2) the IRS has actually issued a levy on the underlying tax liability.

Timing Issues and Other Exceptions

Certification to the State Department that a “seriously delinquent tax debt” exists will not occur until after a taxpayer’s due process rights have been exhausted for either the lien or proposed levy action. In general, taxpayers have a short period of time to challenge the IRS’s attempt to collect on an assessed tax debt. Once the IRS issues a Notice of Federal Tax Lien or a Notice of Intent to Levy, a taxpayer has 35 days (for a lien) or 30 days (for a notice of intent to levy) to challenge the agency action. During that time period – and while any hearing is pending- the IRS will not be sending notice to the State Department that a seriously delinquent tax liability exists – and your passport should not be revoked. What this means is that there is more at stake than ever in making sure that taxpayers with liabilities over $50,000 challenge proposed (levy) or actual (lien) collection action by the IRS.

Taxpayers who are being held jointly and severally liable for a tax debts that really belongs to their ex or current spouses can also protect themselves from the loss of their passports by filing for innocent spouse relief when warranted. A pending Innocent Spouse claim can both prevent the notice from being sent to the State Department in the first place, or – if a notice has already been sent – the IRS will send a second notice after an Innocent Spouse claim is filed allowing the state department to issue or reinstate a passport.

Just another collection tool for the IRS

The IRS will not request the revocation of a passport for taxpayers who are currently enrolled in an installment agreement with the IRS, as long as that Installment Agreement is in good standing. So, if that is the case in your situation – you do not need to worry about losing your passport. In addition, once an Installment Agreement has been established, the IRS will notify the State department within 30 days that your passport can now be issued or renewed. BUT, If you are looking to submit an offer-in-compromise, you will need to wait until the offer has been accepted to get your passport back. Requesting/Electing Innocent Spouse relief will result in a taxpayer being able to get her passport back in (hopefully) about 30 days while the request is pending.

The bottom line is that this new collection tactic clearly disadvantages taxpayers who submit an Offer outside of a Collection Due Process hearing. It creates an incentive for taxpayers who are deciding between submitting an offer-in-compromise or establishing an Installment Agreement to opt for the latter in certain circumstances – namely when they need their passports back.


See the full text of the new provisions below.

Read more

How can I remove a federal Tax Lien

Fighting a Federal Tax Lien

Can I Fight a Federal Tax Lien?

How to Remove a Federal Tax Lien

Has a Federal Tax Lien been filed against your personal property? If it has, you may be wondering what a Federal Tax Lien is, and if you can fight it.

What is a Federal Tax Lien?

When the IRS wants to make sure it gets paid on outstanding tax debt, it often files tax liens against the personal property of the taxpayer. The lien gives notice to other lenders, and the public, that you owe money to the IRS. It also encumbers the property, meaning that it cannot be legally sold without first paying off the IRS, or paying off the IRS from the proceeds of the sale.

The IRS can file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien against your real estate property, such as investment properties or the family home, on the land records in your town hall. The IRS can also file a tax lien against your other personal property with the Secretary of State. In Connecticut, we use the CONCORD system, right along with UCC liens. CONCORD can be searched by lenders or members of the public.

Why is a Federal Tax Lien a Big Deal?

A Federal Tax Lien is a big deal because it creates an interest in your property on behalf of the IRS. If the property is ever sold, the proceeds must first go to paying off the IRS before you see a single dollar. This is especially devastating if you are selling a piece of real estate property with the plans of using the money to pay off your mortgage. The IRS lien can strip you of any equity you might have in the property, and sometimes not even leave enough to pay off your mortgage, making the sale of the property unreasonable. Here are some other ways a Federal tax Lien can negatively affect your life:

  • Ruin Your Credit: By informing credit agencies and other lenders of your tax debt, a tax lien can make it difficult or impossible to get a business loan, mortgage or even open a new credit card.
  • Injure Your Reputation: By searching the land records or CONCORD, your friends and neighbors can gain knowledge of your tax debt and your financial situation.
  • Impact Your Profession: Some jobs require you to have healthy credit or even be bonded (insured). Having a tax lien on record can affect your professional reputation and may block you from getting that job you were after (and in turning hurt your ability to pay your tax debts). Further, many employers search for liens when trying to get inside information on the character of a potential employee.

How Can You Fight a Federal Tax Lien?

You can fight a tax lien by having it removed through a release or withdrawal, by having it stripped, or by stopping the IRS from acting on the lien.

An IRS tax lien is released, like any lien, when the underlying debt is paid in full. When a tax debt is satisfied, either by paying the full amount of the debt or less through an Offer in Compromise, a release is filed on the public records. There are now two public records: the Notice of Federal Tax Lien and a Release of Federal Tax Lien. While your obligations to the IRS are gone, anybody searching the records will still be able to see that a lien did exist at one point. The lien will also remain as a mark on your credit report for up to 7 years.

When an IRS tax lien is withdrawn, however, any evidence of the lien is removed. The simplest way to have a tax lien withdrawn is to show that it wasn’t a proper lien: that a the tax debt does not exist, or that it is not your tax debt. The IRS may withdraw a tax lien if the taxpayer enters into an installment agreement under the Fresh Start program. The IRS will also consider withdrawal of a lien if 1) it is in the best interest of the taxpayer AND the United States and/or 2) it will facilitate the collection of the underlying tax debt. A good example is if you need the lien withdrawn so that you can get a loan to pay off your tax debt. Once a lien is withdrawn, it will disappear from your credit history. However, just because a lien has been withdrawn does not mean that the tax debt has been discharged (you might still owe the government money).

A tax lien is stripped through the bankruptcy process, such as Chapter 13 and sometimes Chapter 7 filing. This is complicated and deserves it’s own blog post.

How SHOULD you fight a tax lien?

A release of a tax lien is achieved by either paying the tax debt in full, or through an Offer in Compromise, but a released lien will still leave a mark on your credit history. A withdrawal will take the lien off of your credit report, but it will not discharge the underlying debt and is difficult to convince the IRS to do. Bankruptcy can be expensive and could change your life drastically, leaving a very long-lasting mark on your credit history. In the appropriate circumstances, a Collection Due Process Hearing can temporarily safeguard your property while you propose a resolution to the IRS, but the lien will remain on file while your hearing is pending, and what happens to the lien will depend on the outcome of your hearing. So, which option should you pick? Should you seek a release, fight for a withdrawal, file bankruptcy or request a Collection Due Process Hearing? Should you do more than one?

The answer (or answers) to this question depends on the your specific circumstance. Is the tax debt correct? Do you have the money to pay off the entire debt? Are you looking to repair your credit so that you can get a loan? Are you looking to repair your reputation? All these and many other factors must be considered.

Before you contact the IRS or make any decision about your tax debt situation, you should seek the advice of experienced tax debt resolution professionals. At G&G Law, LLC, our tax resolution attorneys are ready to discuss your circumstances and help you solve your problems. Call us at 203-740-1400.

tax debt is different from credit card debt

How is IRS Tax Debt Different from Credit Card Debt?

Tax Debt vs. Credit Card Debt

How is the Resolution of Tax Debt Different from Resolution of Credit Card Debt?

Everyone has heard tales of how a family member, friend, or that guy sitting across the bar, were able to pay of thousands of dollars of credit card debt for pennies on the dollar (commonly 40 cents on the dollar) by making one lump sum payment. Not only was it (relatively) cheap, but it was so easy! All they had to do was call the credit card company or collection agency and work out a deal. It didn’t even take that long. So, why can’t you settle your tax debt for pennies on the dollar just like credit card debt?!?!

It’s not that you CAN’T settle tax debt for a lower amount, sometimes you can. However, the entire resolution process is different. That is because tax debt is a whole nother animal; an animal with much sharper teeth! The 6 most significant ways in which tax debt differs from credit card debt are:

  1. Tax Debt is Secured: Usually, secured debts are those that are secured by a security instrument, or a document placing  piece of collateral up in exchange for a loan or debt. For example, when buying a house, the loan is secured by a mortgage (the security instrument), placing your house as the collateral. If you do not pay your mortgage, your lender will place a lien on your home, and eventually foreclose. Credit card debt is unsecured. In order for  credit card company to place a lien on your property, the company must take you to court. Even though you never signed a security instrument, YOUR TAX DEBT IS SECURED BY ANY PROPERTY YOU OWN AT THE TIME OF THE DEBT! By law, a lien for the amount of the tax debt exists as soon as the tax liability is incurred (begins to exist) and can be filed as soon as the tax liability is assessed. Own any cars? A home? Vacation house? A world renowned stamp collection? Well they have all now been jeopardized by your tax debt, and any time you sell one of them, the IRS will be there ready to confiscate your proceeds.
  2. The IRS Can Garnish: We’re not talking about fancy French cuisine. The IRS can send notices to your employer, the Social Security office, the Department of Labor which handles unemployment payments, a disability insurer, or anybody else sending you regularly scheduled payments. By law, those people, companies and organizations MUST turn over a portion of your checks to the IRS. If they do not, they are liable to the IRS for amounts that could have but were not collected. How many of them do you think will refuse to the pay the IRS? Credit card companies and debt collectors do not have this power.
  3. The IRS Can Get Your Bank Accounts: Similar to garnishing your wages, the IRS can simply issue a notice to your bank telling them to hand over your money, whether it is in a checking or savings account. By law, the bank must comply. this is another power credit card companies do not possess.
  4. The IRS has 10 Years to Collect Tax Debt: In general, a credit card company has 7 years or less to take you to court over credit card debt. Meanwhile, the IRS can collect tax debt for up to 10 years, starting from when the tax debt is assessed. If you failed to file a tax return, there is nothing stopping the IRS from assessing debt under that unfiled tax return 5, 10, 20 even 30 years later, and only at that time does the 10 years start to run. For example, the debt from an unfiled tax return from 2000 could be assessed in 2020, and the IRS would have until 2030 to collect!
  5. IRS Collections Are Kept In-House: If you stop paying your credit card bills, the credit card company will sell your debt to a collection agency, who will gladly settle your debt for almost any amount over what they paid to acquire it. The IRS no longer sells tax debt to collection agencies (any agency claiming they bought and are collecting on your tax debt is a scam!). This lessens the taxpayers bargaining power when settling debt.
  6. IRS Policy is Law: Credit Card companies have policy and procedure manuals that are followed by their employees. Their policies and procedures must also comply with the Fair Credit Collection Practices Act. When attempting a settlement, the credit card company policies and procedures can be challenged based on their compliance with the FCCPA or based on reasonableness. The IRS, however, develops its own policies and procedures, and since it is a government agency, these then become law. The IRS answers to nobody but themselves.

As you can see, tax debt is far more serious of a financial issue than credit card debt. The IRS has more ways to get at your money and it’s easier for them to do so. The IRS has more time to collect on your tax debt also. Further, the taxpayer has less bargaining power because the IRS makes its own laws.

If you need help fighting or settling your tax debt, the tax resolution attorneys at G&G Law, LLC can help. We have knowledge of the IRS policies and procedures, and have experience navigating their system. We are more than just another hotline from an infomercial; call 203-740-1400 to speak to a tax resolution attorney.