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Q: Determining current amount to IRS on someone else's tax lien ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Determining current amount to IRS on someone else's tax lien
Category: Business and Money > Accounting
Asked by: writer32-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 21 Jun 2002 12:17 PDT
Expires: 28 Jun 2002 12:17 PDT
Question ID: 31284
The IRS recorded a tax lien against someone six years ago. I know the
original amount of that lien. However, I don't know whether the
taxpayer has paid any partial amounts on that lien. What I want to
find out is the current amount remaining which is still due. For
instance, assume the recorded lien is for $10,000. However, the
taxpayer may have paid nothing, $2,000, or some other amount. I want
to find out how much, if anything has been paid and thus how much is
still owed.

I would like to find some public web site where I can find out how
much is owed without contacting the IRS by telephone and speaking with
someone. Is there any publicly available location that I can obtain
this information on the internet?

If there is no such place, what telephone number can I call to find
this information. The 1-800 numbers that I called just have tape

Please let me know if you need any additional information.
Subject: Re: Determining current amount to IRS on someone else's tax lien
Answered By: wengland-ga on 25 Jun 2002 07:43 PDT

The original amount of the lien is a matter of public record,
available in the courthouse of the county where the lien was taken. 
However, this is not what you are looking for.

To find out the current value of the lien, you may call 1-800-829-1040
to request an updated lien payoff amount.  You can also go to your
local IRS office to request the same thing.

However, there are no web-sites that provide this information. 
askdavid-ga is quite correct in stating that the IRS is very serious
about privacy.

I called the help line and found this out:

The IRS is unable to provide confidential information to a third party
without a signed written letter of permission, particularly IRS form
2848, available by calling 1-800-829-3676 or at the URL below.  The
form 2848 is a Power Of Attorney form, and gives you the legal right
to act in place of another person.  Once that form is on file with the
IRS, then you can get the payoff information you seek.

To get this information, I called the 800 number above, and hit the
following set of options to get to a human:

2-1-(fake ssn)-3-2-2-2

I used 999-99-9999 to get past the SSN block.

I then asked the human what the process was to obtain the payoff for a
third party.  She transferred me around to a new voice mail system,
and the recording there provided the information above.

I hope this answers your question sufficiently, and I wish you the
best of luck getting your information.

Search Strategy
"lien payoff" at
"tax lien balance" at

Relavant Links

Form 2848, Power Of Attorney

Directions for Form 2848

The IRS Collection Process, Publication 594

Tax Topics 201 - The Collection Process,,i1%3D51%26genericId%3D16161,00.html

Request for Answer Clarification by writer32-ga on 28 Jun 2002 08:09 PDT
Thanks for the answer. You gave some good information, but not exactly
what I wanted. I expected when I put out the question that somewhere I
ought to be able to find out the current balance on the IRS lien since
the lien was already public because it was recorded in a public
office. I won't be able to get the consent of the taxpayer that you
described because he is now deceased. Also, I won't be able to get the
cooperation of the estate representative.

I am a creditor of the estate and I want to find out how much is
outstanding on the lien to see if I will be able to get anything from
the estate. IRS is ahead of my claim because it recorded earlier and
it also
recorded before some of the other creditors. I want to find out if it
worthwhile for me or others to pursue a claim against the estate, and
will depend on the current balance of the lien.

Is there a way for a CREDITOR to get information about the balance,
since (1) the lien is already public and (2) there is a business
reason for
wanting the information?

You gave a lot of good information in your answer, but it just seems
that there should be an exception to the privacy rule under these

Thanks for your help.

Clarification of Answer by wengland-ga on 28 Jun 2002 08:40 PDT

You are in quite the sticky situation, aren't you?  

I would like to first state that I am not qualified to give legal
advice, and this is only my personal opinion.  I suggest you consult
with a lawyer specializing in collections and tax law for a definitive

Your only real recourse is with the legal representative of the
estate.  The IRS will only give out lein balance information to
someone who has power of attorney for the person in question.  They
are very clear on this point.  I would suggest approaching the
executor or guardian of the estate for either permission or the
balance information.

Failing that, I suggest you contact a lawyer specializing in this

Good luck!
Subject: Re: Determining current amount to IRS on someone else's tax lien
From: askdavid-ga on 21 Jun 2002 13:10 PDT
The IRS has many ways of collecting owed money. The most immediately
available information relates to tax liens on real propery, which are
filed with county recorder of deeds (or local equivalent)in the county
where the taxpayer lives.

However, that official probably only knows whether the lien exists,
and whether it has been discharged--not how much progress has been
made in paying it off. That information is private, and the IRS is
very serious about taxpayer privacy.


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