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Topics addressed on January 21, 2009:
Tax liens and your credit report
I have tax liens showing on my credit report, but have taken care of them a long time ago. I have documentation showing that they are paid, but I don't know how to get them off my credit. What do I do?
The first thing you should do is get a copy of your personal credit report and see how they are being reported. Do they indicate they have been paid, or does the status say they are unpaid?
If the status says they are unpaid, you should follow the instructions provided with the report to dispute them as paid. The court should then update the accounts to show they have been paid or released. However, that doesn’t mean they will be deleted immediately.
Unpaid tax liens remain on a credit report for 15 years. That’s longer than any other item in a credit report. Paid tax liens remain seven years from the date they are paid.
I guess the message from Uncle Sam is, “Don’t mess with the tax man!”
The silver lining is that once paid, the significance of the lien begins to decrease. The longer in the past the lien was paid, the less impact it will have on your ability to get credit, and in time it will be deleted.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team