Liens against Purchasers

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes the common law “purchase money doctrine”. They have taken the position that the lien of a mortgage in which all the proceeds are used to acquire title to a parcel of property is superior to the lien created by a previously recorded tax lien against the purchaser (Revenue Ruling 68- 57). Therefore, if the federal tax lien is against the purchaser of the property, no exception need be taken on the purchase money lender’s policy. (In the State of Louisiana, however, the foregoing does not apply. Federal tax liens against the purchasers in that state will take priority over the purchase money mortgage. For this reason, it is mandatory that the purchasers’ names be searched for federal tax and other liens which must be either paid or listed as exception.) If secondary financing is being insured, the purchase money doctrine will not protect the secondary lender, and an exception for the federal tax lien must be taken. In addition, exception for the federal tax lien against the purchaser must be made on any owner’s title policy since the lien will attach immediately upon the purchaser’s acquisition of an interest in the property.