Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL)


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Federal Tax Lien


If you have received an NFTL, the IRS is notifying you that they have filed a lien against you. It has been filed in the county courthouse(s) where you live or own property. To be clear: this letter is not a threat; it is already done.

IRS liens are a form of collection designed to allow the IRS to receive proceeds upon the sale of property. It is important to note that liens may affect you in many other ways besides real estate transactions—including potentially impacting your career in certain industries, your eligibility to conduct business transactions, and more. It is safe to say that they should be avoided if possible.

The IRS does provide details on the NFTL (on the first page, near the bottom) explaining that you have the right to file a Request for a Collection Due Process Hearing (CDP) by the date listed. By the time you receive the notice, you may have less than 30 days to respond.

The CDP Hearing may be an effective forum for making an argument that removes the lien, or it may not. It is difficult for even the best tax representation to remove a lien once it has been filed. But knowing and exercising your rights—with regard to the lien, other collection action, the benefits of filing for a CDP Hearing, or the ultimate resolution to the tax issue itself—is essential to secure your best outcome.

The IRS does not issue a NFTL to everyone with a liability. If you’ve received one, this is likely just one of several tax collection letters indicating that the IRS is serious in collecting from you. If you don’t know what to do, or fear that mishandling this crucial moment could have lasting repercussions, remember that you don’t have to face this alone. Calling WatchGuard is a lot easier than calling the IRS.

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