Where is a IRS Tax Lien Filed?

Where is a tax lien filed?  The place of filing of a lien is important for multiple reasons and will be discussed in the article below.  Please understand the information provided below and within this email is for informational purposes.  You should always contact a tax attorney or tax professional to discuss current law and/or your specific facts and circumstances.

Internal Revenue Code Section 6323(f) and state law will determine the correct place for the filing for a Notice of Federal Tax Lien.  A tax lien may not have priority over a later purchaser, security interest holder, judgment lien creditor or a mechanic’s lien if the Internal Revenue Service files the Notice of Federal Tax Lien in the wrong place.  The Internal Revenue Code allows for a state to designate one office for the filing of a federal tax lien for real and personal property, but different rules may apply for real property and personal property (tangible or intangible property).  When filing a lien for real property, the tax lien is filed in one office that is designated by the state where the real property is physically located.  Generally this site for filing would be the county recorder or clerk of the county (sometimes referred to as the county clerk and recorder) in the county where the real property is located.  In terms of personal property the place for filing of both tangible and intangible property is the residence of the taxpayer at the time the tax lien is filed.  Most states would generally provide that the office for filing the tax lien regarding an individual’s personal property would be the county clerk’s office in the county where the taxpayer lives or resides.

So given the above, where would the IRS file a tax lien in regards to a business such as a corporation or partnership?  The residence of a corporation or a partnership is considered to be the place whereby the principal office is located, which would be the office where the major business decisions or executive decisions are made.  See S. D’Antoni, Inc. v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Inc., 496 F.2d 1378 (5th Cir 1974).

What if a taxpayer lives in Cambodia or elsewhere abroad?  If a taxpayer lives outside of the United States, for purposes of the filing of a Notice of Federal Tax Lien, the taxpayer is considered to live in Washington, DC.  Therefore, the tax lien would be filed against the taxpayer’s personal property with the Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia.

If no office is designated by a state for the filing of the tax lien, the Internal Revenue Code would provide that the lien should be filed in the office of the clerk of the United States District Court for the judicial district in which the property that the tax lien would attach to is situated.  Generally, there have not been many states where the tax lien is file in district court.

Contact a Denver tax attorney at The McGuire Law Firm if you have questions relating to a tax matter, IRS tax lien or any other tax question.  A tax attorney can assist you with tax matters from tax problems to tax planning and analysis.

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