Tax Liens in Jefferson County, Alabama
In Jefferson County, Alabama, a "lien" is a security interest placed on a piece of property, normally land or a house, to secure the payment of a debt. It typically gives a creditor the right to take ownership of any equity that exists in the property, to secure the payment of the debt. If the owner sells the property, the creditor may also be entitled to the funds of the sale, up to the amount owed. It can also give the holder of the lien a higher priority status, giving them an advantage over competing creditors, if the debtor files bankruptcy.
As you might have gathered, a "tax lien" is simply a lien placed on property by the IRS or Jefferson County, Alabama tax authorities, to compile taxes that the property-owner has failed to pay.
However, a tax lien in Jefferson County, Alabama will be ineffective if the debtor doesn't own any valuable property to encumber with a lien. As with any debt, the creditor can't collect if the debtor doesn't have any assets. Nonetheless, a tax lien can be applied to property that the taxpayer gains after the lien goes into effect.
Tax Lien Procedure in Jefferson County, Alabama
The actual process of setting up a Jefferson County, Alabama tax lien is normally pretty simple. The agency responsible for collecting taxes must first decide that a tax lien is warranted, normally by finding that the debtor owes a significant amount of back taxes.
Then, the taxpayer is sent a letter with a "notice and demand," which informs the taxpayer that the IRS has decided that they owe back taxes, and that they have a short period of time (normally 10 days) to pay them without incurring a penalty.
If this 10-day period expires without payment, the tax lien arises automatically. Once this happens, the tax authorities in Alabama have all the options in the taxpayer's property that any other lien holder would have, containing priority over competing creditors.
Nonetheless, there are limits to how and when a tax lien can be enforced, at least under federal law. The IRS has 10 years to enforce a tax lien in Jefferson County, Alabama or anywhere else in the U.S. If it never bothers to take action to seize property that's subject to a tax lien, the lien simply ceases to exist after 10 years. This rule is in place to ensure that the government does not sit on its rights, and to keep potentially-valuable property from being encumbered forever. Essentially, it creates a measure of certainty for both parties.
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How Can a Jefferson County, Alabama Tax Lien Lawyer Help?
If you are notified by the government that you owe back taxes in Alabama, and that they are going to pursue a tax lien to collect their money, things can get very difficult, extremely quickly.
Therefore, it's important that you retain a tax attorney in Jefferson County, Alabama to ensure that whatever legal rights you have in this situation are defended. Your attorney will also be able to advise you on how to best deal with the situation.