A lien is a legal claim to secure a debt and may encumber real or personal property.  A state tax lien (also known as a state tax execution) is recorded with one or more Clerks of Superior Court to make it a matter of public record and to secure the debt.  After a lien has become due and is in the collection process, the Department may file a lien without notice, at any time, if it is in the State's best interest.

Transfer of Ownership of Property

The Department’s liens attach to any property to which the named taxpayer is the owner of record. In the event that ownership of the subject property changes, the Department’s lien remain attached until the lien is resolved.  When there is a sale of the subject property, the lien attaches to the proportionate proceeds from the sale. If a taxpayer dies, the property becomes part of the taxpayer's estate, and the lien remains attached to his or her share of the property.  If the property has multiple owners, the property may be still liable for the tax liability, depending on the type of property estate.

Release of Liens

Cancellation of Liens

The Department will cancel a state tax lien when the delinquent tax liability has been resolved. The Department will mark an entry of satisfaction on the execution docket and cancel the lien with the Clerk of Superior Court in each county where the lien had been recorded.

Mortgage companies, financial institutions and taxpayers may obtain payoff information from the Department, as recorded liens are public information and do not require a power of attorney to disclose payoff information.

Withdrawal of Liens

If the taxpayer believes that a lien was filed in error, the taxpayer may request a withdrawal of the tax lien.  If the Department determines that the lien was filed in error, the lien will be withdrawn. 

Release of Expired Liens

Expired liens (also known as statute-barred liens) do not attach to any property interest of the taxpayer whose name appears on the lien. 

Removing liens from a credit bureau report

The Department has no control over the length of time that credit bureaus keep public information on a credit bureau report. To update your credit bureau report, you must contact the credit bureaus directly.

If the Department recorded a state tax lien against you in error, the Department will amend the lien by stating that it has been officially withdrawn.  Please note that the Department cannot instruct a credit reporting agency to alter its records regarding this error because the Department does not report the recording of state tax liens to any such agencies. 

Partial Releases and Subordinations of Liens

Get more information about partial releases and subordination of liens.

Statute of Limitations and Liens

State tax liens must be filed within seven years of the assessment date of the tax liability.  Once the Department files a lien, the Department has seven years from the date the lien was recorded to collect the liability. A tax lien may be renewed for another seven-year period by re-recording the lien prior to the expiration of the previous seven-year period.