When you owe tax debt, we automatically have a statutory lien that attaches to all California real or personal property you own or have rights to. If you don't respond to our letters, pay in full, or set a payment plan, we may record and/or file a Notice of State Tax Lien against you. This secures and protects the debt owed to us and notifies creditors of the debt.
A Notice of State Tax Lien can be:
- Recorded with one or more county recorders (real property)
- Filed with the California Secretary of State (personal property)
Examples of real property:
- Vacant land
Examples of personal property:
- Business equipment and assets
- Mobile home
- Car or truck
How a lien affects you
A lien secures our interest in your property when you don’t pay your tax debt.
Once a Notice of State Tax Lien is recorded or filed against you, the lien:
- Becomes public record
- Attaches to any California real or personal property you currently own or may acquire in the future
- Is effective for at least 10 years (may be extended)
- May impact your credit
When a lien becomes public record, you may not be able to:
- Buy, sell, refinance, or transfer property
- Get a personal or business loan
- Get or keep a job
Although we don’t notify credit bureau agencies of the recording or filing of the Notice of State Tax Lien, they may get the public record from either the county recorders or California Secretary of State and may include it on your credit report.
How to release a lien
The quickest way we will release a Notice of State Tax Lien is for you to pay your liened tax debt in full (including interest, penalties, and fees). We will begin the lien release process once the payment is posted.
If you pay in full using:
- Bank account (Web Pay): Make separate payments for each tax year. Select the Bill option from the drop-down list. This is the quickest payment option.
- Credit card: Make separate payments for each tax year.
- Check, money order, cashier’s check: Send one payment. Make sure to specify the amount you want to go to each year on the payment or include a letter.
Contact us to get your current balance if you have multiple lien tax debt.
We will issue a release for all Notices of State Tax Lien if you:
- File any missing tax returns
- Pay your liened tax debt in full (including interest, penalties, and fees) – if any
- Contact us to provide documentation if no filing requirement exists for the liened tax year
We will not issue a release for a Notice of State Tax Lien that has expired.
During a real estate or loan transaction
If you’re in a real estate or loan transaction, your escrow, title, or mortgage company should help resolve your lien(s) during escrow. They should use eDemand to submit a lien payoff request.
Once we process the request and receive payment, we will release the lien.
- If there’s not enough to pay off all your liens, visit Insufficient funds in escrow/short sale.
- If there are competing state and federal tax lien, visit Competing liens.
- If you’re an escrow, title, or mortgage company, visit Payoff request.
If you’re a business, you must be in good standing in order to enter into any business transactions or contracts, such as the sale of real property.
Check your business status with the California Secretary of State Business Search.
If your business is suspended or forfeited, visit My business is suspended.