A federal tax lien arises when a tax return is filed and the tax isn’t paid after a demand for payment has been made. By law the lien is in favor of the United States and is upon all property and rights to property of the person with the unpaid tax. It gives the IRS the authority to seize any proceeds from sales of real estate owned by a delinquent taxpayer. To protect the government’s right of priority against other parties who are owed money by the same person, the IRS will file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien, which puts other creditors on notice about the IRS’s claim.

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