Tax Liens in Arcata, California
In Arcata, California, a "lien" is a security interest placed on a piece of property, usually land or a house, to secure the payment of a debt. It generally 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 proceeds 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 Arcata, California tax authorities, to collect 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 significant property on which a lien can be imposed. To get around this limitation, most tax liens in Arcata, California apply to after-acquired property (property obtained after the lien was created). Most other liens only apply to specific pieces of property, or property that the debtor owned at the time the lien went into effect.
Tax Lien Procedure in Arcata, California
Imposing a tax lien in Arcata, California is typically an uncomplicated process. Generally, the tax authorities simply have to make a determination that the taxpayer is delinquent in their taxes, and that imposing and enforcing a tax lien will actually be worth the effort.
At this point, the taxpayer will receive a letter containing a "notice and demand," which, as the name suggests, gives notice that the recipient owes taxes, and demands immediate payment. It will usually give the taxpayer about 10 days to pay the demanded amount.
If this deadline expires, and the debtor does not pay the taxes they owe, the lien will take effect automatically. When this occurs, the IRS or California tax agency will have significant rights against the taxpayer's property.
However, if the federal government does not seek to enforce a tax lien in Arcata, California 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 ensure that property is not encumbered by a lien forever.
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How Can a Arcata, California Tax Lien Lawyer Help?
If you end up having a tax lien imposed on your property in California, you will probably have to deal with some fairly difficult legal issues, which might be complex to a layperson.
So, it should go without saying that if you are facing the prospect of your home or vehicle being slapped with a tax lien, you need to seek the advice of a good tax lawyer in Arcata, California as soon as you can.