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Published:   |   Last Updated: September 28, 2023

Release of Notice of Federal Tax Lien (Lien Release)

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Station Overview

A lien release is different from a lien discharge. A discharge removes the lien from a specific property, but taxes are still owed. Whereas a release removes the lien completely because taxes are no longer owed or the IRS’s time to collect has ended.

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What does this mean to me?

The lien is generally released automatically (self-released), or the IRS can file a certificate of release prior to it self-releasing.

The IRS is required to issue a release within 30 calendar days of the date when either:

  • The tax including penalties and interest is full paid;
  • The tax can no longer be legally collected (time to collect has ended); or
  • The IRS accepted a bond.

The type of payment can affect the time when the 30 calendar days begin.

For example, the 30-day period will begin:

  • On the date certified funds (like cash, cashier check or money order) are received.
  • Fifteen calendar days after the date non-certified funds are received, like a personal check.
  • On the date funds are electronically transferred.

When the lien is released, IRS files the certificate of release in public records to alert creditors the balance is no longer due.

How did I get here?

The IRS has filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) for unpaid taxes and the balance has been satisfied or the time the IRS can collect has ended. The tax can be satisfied by full payment, completion of an Offer in Compromise, or the IRS has accepted a bond in exchange for the release.

The time the IRS can collect is generally 10-years and is called the Collection Statute Expiration Date. It can be longer if the IRS is prohibited by law to collect or is permitted by law to add time to the 10-years. When the time the IRS can collect has ended, the IRS can no longer legally collect the tax.

 

What are my next steps?

If you need to pay off your taxes, you can:

  • Access Your Online Account to get your account balance.
  • Contact the IRS Centralized Lien Office to get a payoff letter by calling 800-913-6050 or e-fax 855-390-3530.
  • See payment options for more information on how you can pay your taxes.

If you need a copy of a certificate of release and it’s been more than 30-days since the taxes were full paid:

  • Contact the IRS Centralized Lien Office by calling 800-913-6050 or e-fax 855-390-3530.

If you are requesting a certificate of release within 30-days of paying off your taxes, the request must be in writing and mailed to the Collection Advisory Group for your area.

  • See Publication 1450, Instructions for Requesting a Certificate of Release of Federal Tax Lien, for more information. ·
  • See Publication 4235, Collection Advisory Group Addresses.

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If you still need help

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayers’ rights. We can offer you help if your tax problem is causing a financial difficulty, you’ve tried and been unable to resolve your issue with the IRS, or you believe an IRS system, process, or procedure just isn’t working as it should. If you qualify for our assistance, which is always free, we will do everything possible to help you.

Visit www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov or call 1-877-777-4778.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS and TAS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS. LITCs can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. In addition, LITCs can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. For more information or to find an LITC near you, see the LITC page on the TAS website or Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

Additional Contact Information

  • Centralized Lien Operation: To resolve basic and routine lien issues: verify a lien, request lien payoff amount, or release a lien, call 800-913-6050 or fax 855-753-8177.
  • Collection Advisory Group: For all complex lien issues, including discharge, subordination, subrogation or withdrawal; find contact information for your local advisory office in Publication 4235, Collection Advisory Group Addresses.
  • Under certain circumstances you may be able to appeal the filing of a Notice of Federal Tax Lien. For more information, see Publication 1660.
  • Centralized Insolvency Operation: If you are questioning whether your bankruptcy has changed your tax debt, call 800-973-0424.
  • Contact the IRS:

Related Notices and Letters

  • Form 668 (Y)(C), Notice of Federal Tax Lien
  • Letter 3640, Taxpayer Lien Payoff
  • Letter 3172, Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing and Your Rights to a Hearing Under IRC 6320
  • Letter 3171, Notice of Federal Tax Lien Additional Filing (We filed an additional Notice of Federal Tax Lien against you)
  • Letter 3886, Special Condition Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing – Taxpayer
  • Letter 3177, Special Condition Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing – Third Party