A: A lien is a legal claim on property. A tax lien is a public record that puts your creditors on notice that the IRS has a claim against all of your property, including property you acquire after the lien is filed. The lien attaches to all of your property both real and personal, such as your home, your car, or any other property rights you may have. Because it is a public record, a tax lien can also negatively affect your credit report and score.
While receiving a notice of federal tax lien can be an unsettling experience, there are legitimate methods that can be used to either appeal the filing of the lien, or have it withdrawn, released, or discharged. However, it is important that you act quickly; as a lien notice is usually the first aggressive step in the IRS collection process which can later include levy and garnishment.