Federal Tax Liens: Overview

A federal tax lien  is a statutory lien provided for by Internal Revenue Code § 6321 which arises upon the non-payment of taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service. The lien arises on the date of assessment and attaches to all of the taxpayer’s property. However, a federal tax lien does not establish its priority relative to other perfected liens or interests until a Notice of Federal Tax Lien is filed in either (a) the public records designated by the laws of the State in which the property is located or (b) the clerk of the U. S. district court for the judicial district in which the property is located whenever the state has not by law designated one office in which all federal liens are required to be filed. Federal tax liens do not have any super-priority over previously recorded liens or interests. Federal tax liens are considered enforceable against homestead property, even in states such as Florida and Texas.