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IRS Tax Lien vs IRS Levy: What’s the Difference?

Updated: Aug 22


Coast to Coast - IRS Help

IRS Tax Relief - Fresh Start Program

Many people use tax lien and tax levy interchangeably, but they are entirely different. A tax lien is a legal claim (not a seizure) against your property in an attempt to secure payment of your back taxes. A tax levy, however, actually allows the IRS to actually seize your property to satisfy the debt. A federal tax lien will come into play if you disregard your tax bill or refuse to pay it. When this happens, the IRS will file a public document, the Notice of Federal Tax Lien. This basically tells all other creditors that the IRS has secured a legal claim to your property.

How to Handle an IRS Tax Lien

The IRS can place a federal tax lien not only on your existing assets, but also future assets attained while the IRS lien is in effect. Even if you file for bankruptcy, the IRS lien may remain in place. The easiest way to remove a tax lien is to pay your taxes in full but most people will not have the ability to do so. If you can pay the tax liability, the IRS will release the lien within 30 days. If paying your tax debt in full is not possible, you may be able to get relief through one of these options. 1. Installment Agreement

If the IRS hasn’t filed a tax lien against you yet, you may avoid adverse action by setting up a guaranteed installment agreement ($10K or less) or a streamlined installment agreement ($25K or less). This allows you to make monthly payments over time to pay off your tax debt. Should you decide that you want to enter into an Installment Agreement with the IRS, our team strongly suggest that you confer with an experienced tax professional before doing so.

2. Offer in Compromise You may be able to reduce your tax debt through an Offer in Compromise. If successful, the IRS will remove the tax lien once the agreed-upon amount is paid in full.

Flat Fee Tax Relief has many articles regarding the Tax Relief Program known as an Offer in Compromise. To access this material click here:


This article is brought to you by the tax professionals at Flat Fee Tax Relief. Our teams are strategically in Clearwater, Florida, and San Diego, California. Our coast to coast coverage gives our tax pros a distinct advantage when a client needs an IRS levy stopped and released in one day. Our hours are 8 A.M. Eastern to 6 P.M. Pacific time.


CALL 1-866-747-7435




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