How to Look Up a Tax Lien
According to Experian, one of the credit reporting agencies, a tax lien is a claim by a taxing authority on an asset owned by someone who owes back taxes. For a business, a tax lien may be on a commercial property the business owns, possibly the property where the business operates. The two major taxing authorities include the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for business back taxes the business owes to the federal government and the county where the property is located. Whether it is a federal or county tax lien, the lien shows on the property records, which the county clerk’s office where the property is records on the public records. Whether you’re looking up a tax lien on your own property to pay it off or you’re an investor looking to invest in tax liens, your computer is the main tool you need to look up a tax line.
Find the county website. Use the National Association of Counties website to determine if the county where the property is located has a website.
Search the county website. Once you determine if the county is online, go to the county website and conduct a tax lien search. You can typically search for liens on the property using the parcel number, address or owner of the property. If the property is going to auction, the county websites also list upcoming tax lien sales and the procedures for paying off your own lien or buying tax lines.
Review the tax lien or tax lien lists. Once you pull up the tax lien for the property you’re interested in, the website provides various information on the lien. Typically, it lists the amount, date and payoff instructions for the tax lien.
If the county where the property is located does not have a website or does not allow online searches for tax lines, you have to go in person to look up the tax lien. Look up the address for the county clerk’s office, note the hours of operation and then go in person to obtain the tax lien information.
Some counties provide tax lien information by phone, but if you want a copy of the tax lien information, there is usually a charge.
Some websites, such as www.taxsalelists.com sell tax lien lists, which is another way to look up tax liens. Before you pay a third party to obtain a tax lien list, conduct some research on the business with organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, to make sure that the website is legitimate.
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