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Robin D.
Robin D., Senior Tax Advisor 4
Category: Tax
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Experience:  15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
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Can I sell my car if the title has a tax lien on it

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Can I sell my car if the title has a tax lien on it?

Hello and thank you for using Just Answer.

Once a lien arises, the IRS generally cannot issue a "Certificate of Release of Federal Tax Lien" until the taxes, penalties, interest, and recording fees are paid in full.

You do not mention the state you are in but most states require a statement of release of lien when the car is registered by the new owner.

The federal tax lien is a claim against your property which protects the IRS's interest in your property as a creditor.

The IRS becomes the highest of priority of creditors, so if you sold your car the IRS would be the first to be paid.

I hope this information is useful,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I am in Missouri. And I have never paid the sales tax on the car or registered it. So can I sell it with the lien for the sales tax and it being unregistered?

MO state DMV advises the following to individuals that are wanting to register a vehicle in MO:


If there is a lien on the vehicle, you should obtain the title from the lienholder to submit with your application. The lien will remain in force. When the Missouri title is issued, the lien will appear on the face of the title.


The person wanting to buy the vehicle and register it will need documentation to bring for registering the vehicle. You stated that you have not registered in MO, you are going to have to present the title to the buyer. If you have a lien on the vehicle you need to pay the tax owed so the lien can be released before the new owner is going to be able to register, no matter what state they want to register in.

So, you ever you owe the tax to you must clear u the tax owed.


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