Removing a Federal Tax Lien From Your Credit Report

As of mid-2018, about half of all tax liens have been removed from consumers’ credit reports.

Federal tax liens used to remain on your credit report for many years. In 2018, however, the credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion— removed most 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.)

Why the Credit Reporting Bureaus Removed Tax Liens From Credit Reports

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.

Under What Circumstances Must Tax Liens Be Removed?

Under the credit reporting bureaus’ new policy, tax liens have to come off your credit report unless the public record of the lien shows your name, your address, and either your Social Security number or your date of birth. If your credit report shows a tax lien, but the lien doesn't meet this criteria, you should dispute it with the credit reporting agency.

How Many Liens Have Been Deleted, Affect of Removal

The credit reporting bureaus have eliminated approximately half of the tax liens that were previously shown on credit 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.

Review Your Reports

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. If you find erroneous information in your report, under the FCRA, 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.)

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