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This has been happening a lot across the country, especially n NY, PA, and the mid west states.
People are getting notices for unpaid taxes as far back as 10 or more years. This becomes an issue because states and the IRS only recommend holding tax records for a period of 10 years or less (7 for the IRS). There is however in NY a saving clause that says that you should keep your records as long as necessary for tax purposes.
This means to me, forever or until 15 years after I get rid of a peice of realestate or for sales tax purposes.
The reason is not the FED, but becaue I have come to know in this venue, that the states are going back 10 and 15 years for income tax debts, and in the case of sales tax 20 to 30 years in some cases.
You are asking if they can lien your house and about the statute of limitations.
the statutes are complicated. Essentiall for NY, they have 10 years to collect assessed taxes from the assessment date. So what they will do is wait until just before the statue expires, then assess the tax, which allows them now 10 years to collect.
In addition, for NY State the statute of limitations does not apply for cases involving acts of ommission, which any failure to pay or file can be determined to be.
They can file a lien on your property and in NY State, they have 20 years to collect on the tax lien:
statute 1092(3). SOL/collecting on the lien is 20 years