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How does a tax lien affect your credit score?

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Tax liens no longer have the power to affect your credit, so if you have a tax lien on your credit report, you need to report the error to the appropriate credit bureau.

Previously, a tax lien on your credit report could do significant damage to your credit score. All of that changed in 2017 when the credit bureaus began re-evaluating the way they reported civil judgments and civil public records. By April 2018, the three credit bureaus decided to remove all tax liens from credit reports.

How does a tax lien affect your credit? At this point, a tax lien should have no effect on your credit history or credit score. This is good news if you are currently dealing with an unpaid tax lien, or if you are wondering how to get a released tax lien off your credit report.

Even though a tax lien does not hurt your credit score, there are plenty of other downsides to having a tax lien in place—and a tax lien can create problems in your financial life even if it’s not listed on your credit report. For that reason, you should pay your tax liabilities in full and strive to avoid liens whenever possible.

How does a tax lien affect your credit?

Does a tax lien hurt your credit score? No. Since the three major credit bureaus no longer include tax liens on your credit reports, a tax lien is no longer able to affect your credit.

This includes all kinds of tax liens, in case you were curious. Does a property tax lien affect your credit score? No—and neither does an income tax lien. Federal and state tax liens no longer appear on your credit report and neither affect your credit score.

How long are tax liens on your credit report?

The three credit bureaus began removing tax liens from credit reports in 2017, which means that any existing tax liens should no longer appear on your credit report. This goes for any tax liens filed prior to 2017, as well as any filed since then.

Previously, a tax lien was considered a derogatory mark on your credit. These liens could stay on your credit report for up to seven years if you paid them off, and a full 10 years if you didn’t pay them.

However, now that tax liens no longer affect your credit, you don’t have to worry about how long tax liens remain on your credit report.

How to correct errors on your credit report

If you’re wondering how to get released tax liens off your credit report, you need to be sure to report the error to the relevant credit bureau.

Experian, Equifax and TransUnion all offer easy methods of filing disputes online. In many cases, it will take just minutes to report that there is a tax lien on your credit report. The credit bureaus have 30 days to address the dispute and correct any errors, although many credit report disputes are resolved much more quickly.

You can also dispute an error on your credit report by mail. This method is likely to take more time than filing a dispute online, but sending a dispute letter to the credit bureaus is another way to get tax liens off your credit report.

How to dispute a credit report error online:

How to dispute a credit report error by mail:

Written by
Nicole Dieker
Personal Finance Contributor
Nicole Dieker has been a full-time freelance writer since 2012—and a personal finance enthusiast since 2004, when she graduated from college and, looking for financial guidance, found a battered copy of Your Money or Your Life at the public library. In addition to writing for Bankrate, her work has appeared on, Vox, Lifehacker, Popular Science, The Penny Hoarder, The Simple Dollar and NBC News. Dieker spent five years as writer and editor for The Billfold, a personal finance blog where people had honest conversations about money. Dieker also teaches writing, freelancing and publishing classes and works one-on-one with authors as a developmental editor and copyeditor.