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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 10 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