How to Find Out if a Person Has an IRS Tax Lien in the State of California

If you are looking to find out if a person has an IRS tax lien in the state of California, there are several methods you can follow to obtain this information. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) files tax liens when a person has unpaid taxes, and these liens become public records. Here are some steps you can take to find out if a person has an IRS tax lien in California:

1. Access the County Recorder’s Office: Start by visiting the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the person resides or owns property. Tax liens are generally recorded at the county level, and you can request to view these records. Provide the person’s full name and any additional information that may assist in finding the correct records.

2. Search the County’s Online Records: Many county recorder’s offices have online databases where you can search for tax liens. Visit the county’s official website and look for a link to search public records. Enter the person’s name in the search field and review the results for any tax lien records.

3. Visit the County Clerk’s Office: In some cases, tax lien records may be found at the County Clerk’s Office rather than the County Recorder’s Office. Check with the County Clerk’s Office to determine if they have any tax lien records and follow the same steps as mentioned above.

4. Use Online Public Record Databases: There are various online public record databases available that provide access to tax lien records. Some popular options include LexisNexis, Westlaw, and PublicRecordsNow. These platforms require a subscription or a fee to access the records.

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5. Check the State Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Website: The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is responsible for collecting state income taxes. While they don’t handle federal tax liens, they may have information on any state tax liens filed against the person. Visit the FTB’s website and search for their lien records using the person’s name.

6. Search the IRS Website: The IRS also maintains a database of federal tax liens. Visit the IRS website and utilize their online search tool called “Where to Search for Federal Tax Liens.” Enter the person’s name and review the results for any tax lien records.

7. Hire a Professional Service: If you are unable to locate the tax lien records yourself, you can consider hiring a professional service that specializes in conducting public record searches. These services have access to various databases and can provide you with comprehensive reports on any tax liens filed against the person.

8. Contact the IRS Directly: As a final step, you can contact the IRS directly and inquire about the person’s tax lien status. Be prepared to provide the person’s full name, social security number, and any other relevant information. The IRS can inform you if a tax lien has been filed against the person and provide details on the amount owed.


1. Can I search for tax liens using a person’s social security number?
No, social security numbers are not typically used to search for tax liens. Instead, you should use the person’s full name when conducting a search.

2. Are tax lien records available to the public?
Yes, tax lien records are public information and can be accessed by anyone who requests them.

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3. Can I search for tax liens in any county in California?
Yes, you can search for tax liens in any county where the person resides or owns property.

4. Are state tax liens included in the county records?
No, state tax liens are not typically included in county records. You should check with the state’s tax authority, such as the California Franchise Tax Board, for state tax lien information.

5. How long do tax liens stay on a person’s record?
In California, tax liens typically stay on a person’s record for ten years unless the lien is released or satisfied earlier.

6. Can I request copies of tax lien records?
Yes, you can request copies of tax lien records from the County Recorder’s Office or County Clerk’s Office. However, there may be a fee for obtaining these copies.

7. Can I find out the amount owed on a tax lien?
Yes, the amount owed on a tax lien is typically included in the recorded documents. You can find this information when reviewing the tax lien records.

8. Can a person remove a tax lien from their record?
Yes, a person can remove a tax lien from their record by paying off the tax debt in full or through other means such as a payment plan or an offer in compromise. Once the lien is released, it will be updated in the public records.

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