Does IRS Debt Show on Your Credit Report?

In the past, your IRS debt may have appeared on your credit report if the IRS filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien against you. Starting in 2018, the three major credit bureaus removed tax liens from consumer credit reports. However, lenders may still search public records for tax liens.

The IRS may file a tax lien if you have an outstanding tax bill. A lien will not be filed if you are making payments under an installment agreement or have made other payment arrangements with the IRS, as explained below. When the IRS files a Notice of Federal Tax Lien against you, it means that the agency has a legal claim against all your current and future property, such as your home or car. It also establishes the priority of the IRS’s claim before those of other creditors.

Does the IRS Report to Credit Bureaus?

The IRS does not report your tax debt directly to consumer credit bureaus now or in the past. In fact, laws protect your tax return information from disclosure by the IRS to third parties. However, once a Notice of Federal Tax Lien has been filed, your debt becomes public record. Before the credit bureaus changed their policies in April 2018, the public nature of the lien allowed it to be reported on your credit report.

Although these agencies will no longer show tax liens on credit reports, a tax lien filed against you may still be discovered by lenders, credit card companies, etc. In addition to making it difficult to get new credit cards or loans, landlords or employers also may view the tax lien, which may have its own negative effects.

The IRS generally keeps the tax lien in place until you pay your taxes in full or have made other arrangements to pay off, reduce, or eliminate the debt and the IRS releases the lien.

Do IRS Payment Plans Affect Your Credit?

One way to avoid a tax lien or other collection action is to establish a payment plan with the IRS when you receive a tax bill. Taking the step of setting up a payment arrangement with the IRS does not trigger any reports to the credit bureaus.

As mentioned above, the IRS is restricted from sharing your personally identifiable information. While a Notice of Federal Tax Lien could be discoverable by lenders, the payment plan itself would not. Learn about all the IRS payment options you may have if you owe taxes and can’t pay.

Getting Expert Help

Still have questions about your IRS debt or the collection process? The Tax Pros at H&R Block can help you understand your options. Learn more about H&R Block Tax Audit & Notice Services.

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