The IRS tells me that my tax lien is released by operation of law, but real estate brokers won't close on my house without a paper release. I'm frustrated. What can I do, and where do I go to get one?

This is a fun little game the IRS plays occasionally.  Technically, they are right.  If your taxes are paid, discharged or have timed out by the statute of limitations, there is no lien by operation of law.  However, no title company or real estate broker in their right mind is going to close on a property without seeing a filed paper release in a search of county records.  The service is not always diligent in issuing timely paper releases.  However, the law states that they must do so within 30 days of events rendering the tax liability unenforceable (paraphrase mine).   

If you are scurrying about trying to close on a house when an old lien pops up, your sale could be in jeopardy if you have not gotten the release.  If you call the IRS, they may send you to the court house or the county clerk or any one of a number of rabbit holes to get this coveted document.  However, IRS releases are issued by...the IRS!  There are a couple tricks to getting a paper release, and the IRS must issue a paper one if you know the trick.

If the IRS does not release an unenforceable lien within 30 days, they must pay actual damages and penalties in Federal court, did you know that?  The best person to file a lawsuit such as that is a local lawyer licensed to practice in Federal court in your jurisdiction.  I'm licensed in all 3 Oklahoma Federal Courts. Save your time and sanity in this process and call me today at 405-607-1192.     

Travis Watkins
Senior Tax Attorney