Do I need prof. help? IRS tax lien-related.

We need a forum for things that have a factual answer but should also be in the pit! Well, I’ll keep it civil.

So, thinking of moving, and the real estate professional who submits all the forms, apparently before she even thinks about listing our house/showing us others, checks our credit, and it’s all okay except for the federal tax lien from the IRS.

The what!!!???

Now some years ago I had squabble with the IRS…lasted about six years before it was finally resolved in my favor. During this time I hired a lawyer twice. First to get to the bottom of the dispute, which involved the IRS saying I hadn’t sent such and such a form and therefore I owed XXX. Now I don’t keep very good records, but I had a copy of the form. According to the IRS that proved nothing. So I was being stubborn and saying I would not pay, didn’t owe it, and the IRS sent me a notice of INTENT to file a tax lien, whereupon I hied myself to a lawyer. $400 bucks or so later (and I got off cheap), said lawyer had requested the form the IRS said I never sent, through FOIA I think (I would never have thought of that!)and the IRS had dutifully sent it back, date-stamped, indicating that I had sent it after all and they had gotten it. So, all good.

Round two. Some months later. Although the IRS had decided I didn’t owe the $$$ and never had, it was still coming after me for the penalties and interest, which were accumulating at an alarming rate. At this point it was about the same whether I paid them or paid the lawyer–again. So I paid the lawyer, who went to battle on my behalf saying it was ridiculous that I should owe penalties and interest, and interest on the penalties, and then new penalties on the interest…etc…since I’d never owed the money in the first place. Once again he seemed to have won. It’s hard to tell, because the IRS didn’t exactly send me a letter saying Oh, nevermind, sorry for all the agita. But the lawyer said that they don’t. However, they did pick apart my (then) most recent tax return and decided I owed another $35, which he recommended that I not dispute. So I paid it. And then he told me to be very careful and diligent about my dealings with the IRS, which I have been. Send my tax return off with return receipt requested & all that. All figures double-checked.

Apparently this is round three–this tax lien–which I thought had never even been filed in the first place. Now the RE lady’s husband is also a tax attorney (how very convenient) and she knows a bit about it, and she said once they’ve sent you the notice of intent they don’t have to tell you if they actually went ahead and filed it. (Come to think of it she probably knows this because of real estate, not because of her husband, but boy, do I ever digress.) But if they fail to release it you can sue them. :rolleyes: (<—my first rolleyes) I have checked with the state & county–secretary of state, clerk & recorder. No tax lien on file but no release either–but that would have been in 2001, and the electronic searchable record doesn’t go back that far.

I mentioned that what’s really baffling is that I applied for and got, with no problem at all, a new credit card last summer. No mention of any federal tax liens. Nothing. I have been remiss. I have not ordered my free credit report from the three reporting agencies. RE agent says probably it’s not listed by all three credit reporting agencies which is how it slipped through.

But her solution was that I should go through a service that does nothing but get these things off people’s credit reports. Now–what do they do that I can’t do?

I’m thinking I need to get a release of the lien (from the IRS?) and copies of all three credit reports, and then send a copy of the release to whoever has it listed. It sounds like a headache, but it also sounds relatively cheap. My husband thinks that, being already way out of pocket for this thing thanks to the creeps at the IRS and my own lousy record-keeping, we should just throw more money at it and engage one of these firms. RE agent gave us a couple of names. (And also, where to find her tax-attorney spouse, who could also help us out in this realm. Hah.)

Two questions.

  1. If someone files a lien, not just an intent to file a lien, don’t they have to tell you?

  2. Can the professionals accomplish this faster/more efficiently? Because the RE lady said at least 90 days.

Oh, yeah, and (3) should I sue the IRS? (Bwahahahaha)

You want to get a professional, because you want it done right.

Good luck,

As I’ve been in the process of doing various things to clean up my own credit report, I’ve been doing a lot of reading over at for other’s experiences. Here’s a link to one person’s quest to have a mistakenly issued IRS lien removed from their credit report:

(By the way, in that thread, CMRRR = certified mail, return receipt requested.)

The general consensus is that credit repair firms, such as Lexington Law, do nothing that you the consumer can’t do, and charge a fair amount of money to do it in the bargain. The question is, how much time do you want to spend handling this yourself?

If you are really not inclined to do it on your own, I would go back to the attorney you used before. After all, he’s already familiar with all your details.

Good luck!

Interesting link, thanks!