The Silent Tax Lien and the Bankruptcy Trustee

A colleague writes:
PC has $150k of equity in her home. Taxes owed are dischargeable. I know if the IRS filed a Notice of Lien, the lien remains but what if no Notice of Lien was filed – is the unrecorded lien still attached to the equity?

Gentle lawyer:
The IRS does indeed have a silent lien against the equity in the house, but it disappears in bankruptcy. Because the bankruptcy trustee takes over the property with the powers of a judgment creditor, and because there was no Notice of Federal Tax Lien on file, the trustee’s interest trumps the IRS’s interest. The debtor gets to keep the equity in the house. After the discharge is entered, the taxes are discharged, and the IRS can no longer attach the house.

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