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Merlo, Accountant
Category: Tax
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Experience:  25+ years tax consulting. Specializing in returns for US citizens living abroad
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I have four (4) tax liens from the IRS that date back to 1998

Resolved Question:

I have four (4) tax liens from the IRS that date back to 1998 and 1999. It is my understanding that after 10 years that the liens expire. Is this correct? If so, what is the process to have them released and removed from my credit report?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Merlo replied 6 years ago.

Hello JA Customer,


It is correct that the IRS only has 10 years time in which to collect a tax debt. The 10 years start on the date the tax was last assessed So if these liens were placed back in 1998 and 1999 they should now already be self released.


When a lien is self-released, the Notice of Federal Tax Lien itself is the release document.


The lien is considered self released if the:

  • date for refiling has passed and
  • IRS has not refiled the original Notice of Federal Tax Lien.

If you have actual copies of the liens, you should check the column titled Last Day for Re-filing on the Notice of Federal Tax Lien to determine if the lien is self-released.


Keep in mind that although the lien itself may now be released, that does not mean it will be removed from your credit report. Most debts must be removed from your credit report once they are more than 7 years old. However, with a tax debt that you owe, the information remains on your credit report for up to 10 years, even after the tax debt is paid. Essentially what this means is that even though the tax lien itself may no longer be enforceable, it will remain on your credit report unless you actually at some point pay off the taxes that you owe. Even then, the record of the tax lien remains on your credit report for up to 10 years after it is paid.


I am sorry I could not give you better news on this, but IRS tax debts are treated much differently than others as far as how they affect your credit report.


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Thank you



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