Q & A: IRS Trying to Expedite Help to Homeowners

Published: January 17, 2009

Got a homeowner who would like to sell or refi but they have a little issue with the IRS in the form of a tax lien? Well there might be some good news in this latest announcement from the IRS. Not only might they be willing to subordinate their lien for purposes of a refi, but they might even be willing to discharge a lien for purposes of a sale. And if that’s not enough, they’re trying to reduce the current 30+ day processing time for help homeowners.


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced it will expedite its process of providing relief from federal tax liens for distressed homeowners. With over one million current federal tax liens against real and personal property, the IRS announcement should help REALTORS® and their clients resolve federal tax lien issues in their sale and loan transactions.

As background, a homeowner seeking to sell or refinance a property must generally pay off an existing federal tax lien. However, during the current economic downturn, many homeowners don’t have the cash or equity to do so. Hence, for a refinance, the homeowner may request that the IRS makes its tax lien subordinate or secondary to the lien of the refinancing lender. For a sale, the homeowner may, under certain circumstances, request that the IRS discharge its claim. The IRS’s processing time for subordination or discharge requests has been about 30 days. The IRS is currently working to expedite that time frame to help distressed homeowners. For IRS instructions on requesting relief from federal tax liens, go to the IRS Publication 783 for discharges and Publication 784 for subordinations at www.irs.gov.

C.A.R. provides REALTORS® with many legal articles covering a wide range of topics of interest. Some of the new or newly revised legal articles available at http://qa.car.org are as follows:

Last modified: January 17, 2009 at 10:22 am | Originally published: January 17, 2009 at 10:22 am
Printed: September 27, 2020