Tax Liens in Maricopa County, Arizona
In Maricopa County, Arizona, a "lien" is a security interest placed on a piece of property, typically land or a house, to secure the payment of a debt. It usually 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 Maricopa County, Arizona tax authorities, to gather taxes that the property-owner has failed to pay.
However, like any other debt-collection method, a tax lien is worthless if the debtor has no substantial property on which a lien can be imposed. To get around this limitation, most tax liens in Maricopa County, Arizona apply to after-acquired property (property acquired after the lien was created). Most other liens only apply to particular pieces of property, or property that the debtor owned at the time the lien went into effect.
Tax Lien Procedure in Maricopa County, Arizona
The process of imposing a tax lien on property in Maricopa County, Arizona is typically fairly simple. The initial step is for the IRS or local tax agency to decide that a person truly owes back taxes, and that it is worth the effort to impose a lien.
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 (typically 10 days) to pay them without incurring a penalty.
If that time period expires, and the debtor still hasn't paid, the Arizona tax lien will go into effect automatically, with no additional action required.
Nonetheless, if the federal government does not seek to enforce a tax lien in Maricopa County, Arizona within 10 years of imposing it, federal law dictates that the lien automatically expires. This is effectively a statute of limitations on a tax lien, meant to encourage the federal government to collect its taxes in a reasonable period of time, and guarantee that property is not encumbered by a lien forever.
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How Can a Maricopa County, Arizona Tax Lien Lawyer Help?
If the federal government, or the government of Arizona informs you that they intend to place a tax lien on your property, you will likely face some pretty confusing and daunting legal issues.
Therefore, it's important that you contact a tax attorney in Maricopa County, Arizona 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.