Tax Lien Lawyers in San Francisco
In San Francisco, 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.
A "tax lien," then, is a lien held by the government to collect a tax-related debt from a private entity, such as a person or corporation in San Francisco, California.
Of course, a tax lien in San Francisco, California isn't worth much more than the paper it's printed on if the debtor doesn't own any property of value, on which a lien could be placed. However, a tax lien applies to property that the taxpayer obtains even after the lien is created. Obviously, this makes it quite a bit easier for the government to collect its taxes.
Tax Lien Procedure in San Francisco, California
In San Francisco, California, the process for creating a tax lien is fairly uncomplicated. First, the tax authorities determine that a taxpayer actually owes taxes that they haven't paid (that they're delinquent in their taxes).
At this point, they will send the taxpayer a written notice stating that they owe a certain amount of money in back taxes, and that they have a small window of time (often 10 days or less) to pay it.
If this 10-day period expires without payment, the tax lien arises automatically. Once this happens, the tax authorities in California have all the rights in the taxpayer's property that any other lien holder would have, including priority over competing creditors.
However, 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 San Francisco, California 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 prevent potentially-valuable property from being encumbered indefinitely. Basically, it creates a measure of certainty for both parties.
How Can a San Francisco, 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 San Francisco, California as soon as you can.