Fairhope, AL asked in Tax Law for Alabama

Q: I have a federal tax lien against me from unpaid (and disputed) 2004-2005 personal taxes.

The taxes were assessed in 2006. I went through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009 (whole process took four months). At the time of the bankruptcy, I had years of unfiled returns, but got them caught up to qualify for filing chapter 7. I read the 12 reasons why the collection statute expiration date could be extended, and none of them seem to apply to me. It's been more than ten years since the taxes were first assessed, but the liens have not been released. Do I need to do anything to get the liens released?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michelle D. Wynn
Michelle D. Wynn
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Melbourne, FL

A: When the IRS files tax liens, they contain a date on which they automatically release. If that date has now passed, then the lien is released even if the IRS has not filed an actual release on your property records. If you are unsure of the date listed on the lien, you can see a copy of it, usually on the property records at the address at which you were living at the time the release was filed.

If you are unable to obtain this information, you can call the IRS and ask them what their records show your CSED is (CSED = Collection Statute Expiration Date). If that date is later than what you think it should be, ask the employee to explain the dates that the CSED was tolled (the dates that were not being counted). Likely your CSED would have been tolled during the bankruptcy and for 6 months after the discharge. If, after doing the steps above, you think the lien should have been released but was not, you can look at IRS Publication 1450 for additional information (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1450.pdf).

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