Idaho State Tax Commission


A tax lien is a legal claim against your property to secure payment of the taxes you owe. When a tax debt is a joint liability, the Tax Commission files a notice of lien against both spouses even when the couple only has one Idaho tax debt. However, a married couple will pay only one debt to have both liens released.

A notice of lien is filed only after all your opportunities to appeal a tax debt have been exhausted. It's filed at the Idaho Secretary of State's office as a public record and attaches to all property you own in Idaho, including your land, house, and vehicles. With the tax lien in place, we can also issue a warrant to seize your wages, bank accounts, and other assets, if necessary.

How liens can affect you

Tax liens can affect your ability to sell your property or buy new property. For example, if you want to sell or refinance your property, you must pay off the tax lien to get a clear title. Tax liens are listed on your credit report and lower your credit rating, which may affect your ability to get loans or financing.

A tax lien is valid for five years unless a continuation is filed before it expires. The continuation extends the lien another five years. Continuations can be filed repeatedly, which could make a tax lien valid indefinitely.

Idaho law allows continuations on state liens until they're paid in full. This applies to all liens except those for child support, which don't expire.

Avoiding a tax lien

To avoid having a notice of tax lien filed against your property, send the Tax Commission full payment by the final payment date on your Notice and Demand letter. We accept cash, checks, e-checks, money orders, and credit cards. The credit cards we accept are: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and VISA. You can always make payments online.

Liens are public information

Unlike tax returns, tax liens are a public notice of debt. These liens attach to your property and your rights to property. Once the Tax Commission has filed its notice with the Secretary of State, information from the lien is available to the public.

When a lien appears on your credit report

If there's an unknown lien listed on your credit report, it may not have been filed by the Tax Commission. You should check with the Secretary of State's office or your county recorder to find out who holds the lien (you'll need to know the docket or filing number). Then, you can email our Lien Desk and:

  • If we filed the lien notice, and it belongs to you...we'll explain the reason for the lien.
  • If we filed the lien notice, but it doesn't belong to you...we'll send you a letter that clears you of responsibility for the lien. You'll need to file a dispute in writing with the credit reporting agency or agencies that have the incorrect information, and include a copy of our letter.
  • If the Tax Commission didn't file the lien'll need to contact the person or entity that filed it.

How to prove your lien's been satisfied

A lien can still show on your credit report for years after it's been released. To prove it's been satisfied, you'll need to do a lien search by going to the Secretary of State's website or by calling the Secretary of State's office at (208) 334-3191.

Some older liens may only appear on the county recorder's records. If the lien was released before July 1, 1998, you'll need to contact the appropriate county recorder. If your lien was satisfied after July 1, 1998, you can email the Tax Commission's Lien Desk with the lien's docket and filing numbers. If the lien was released, we'll mail or fax the release documentation directly to you.

Last updated April 16, 2014

This information is for general guidance only. Tax laws are complex and change regularly. We can't cover every circumstance in our guides. This guidance may not apply to your situation. Please contact us with any questions. We work to provide current and accurate information. But some information could have technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. If there's a conflict between current tax law and this information, current tax law will govern.