Credit Advice

Tax liens and credit scores


Have a question?

Do you have a question about consumer credit? You may find an immediate answer by using the search engine. If you can't find what you're looking for, please fill out the form, being as specific as possible.

Please note: The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future column.

Our policies
The information contained in this column if for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation.

Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Column responses reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived responses may not reflect current Experian policy.

Credit Advice

Tax liens and credit scores

Dear Experian,

I have a tax lien on my credit report. I know it isn't mine. It belongs to a relative that was living with me. I am having it removed as we speak. I was wondering about how many points does this affect my credit score on average?


Dear MWA,

A tax lien certainly will have a negative impact on credit scores, and having it removed will, therefore, improve your scores. It is impossible to say how much improvement there will be, though.

Because no two credit histories are alike, there is no way to state equivocally how much change removing the tax lien will have or even what an average change might be for any given scoring system. Further complicating the issue is that there are many different credit scoring systems. So, the impact on one system could be very different from another because the numeric scales are different.

Credit scoring systems weigh everything in your credit report individually and in comparison to every other item in your credit history. If there is no other negative information in your credit history, deleting the tax lien could have a dramatic impact. On the other hand, if you have serious delinquencies, such as late payments, collection accounts or bankruptcy, deleting the tax lien may have a much smaller impact because it is less important in relationship to those other issues.

Tax liens are considered very negative and can remain on your credit report longer than any other item. Unpaid tax liens remain part of your credit report for 15 years, and paid tax liens remain for seven years, so it definitely is important that you get it removed if it does not belong to you.

Thanks for asking.

- The "Ask Experian" team

  • © 2016 Experian Information Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.