Federal tax liens used to remain on your credit report for many years. Even if you paid the lien, it stayed on your reports for up to seven years, while unpaid liens remained on reports for up to 10 years. In 2018, however, the credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—removed tax liens from consumers’ credit reports.
Removing tax liens not only directly affects what’s shown on the reports, but also affects consumers’ credit scores because this data is used when calculating FICO and other credit scores. (To learn how the credit reporting bureaus calculate credit scores, see Your Credit Score: What It Is and Why It Matters.)
The credit bureaus’ initiative to delete tax liens from credit reports is part of the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP). NCAP was a result of an agreement between the credit reporting bureaus and 31 state attorneys general, and is designed to make credit reports more accurate, as well as make it easier for consumers to correct errors on their reports.
After a tax lien is deleted from a report, the consumer's credit score could go up by as many as 30 points, although the rise is more likely to be around 10 points.
Whether your report is affected by this change or not, you should regularly check your credit reports from all three bureaus to make sure the information is accurate. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, if you find erroneous information in your report, you have the right to file a dispute with the agency that's reporting the incorrect data. (Learn how to correct incomplete and inaccurate data in your credit report.)