The fact that you owe the IRS back taxes does not have to become a part of public record. If you pay your taxes in full, the IRS has no reason to file a lien. However, most people are honest and want to pay their taxes. If they could have afforded to pay, they would have. Another option to reduce the odds of the IRS filing a tax lien is to pay your balance down below $10,000, but the IRS has the right to file a lien on any dollar amount after ten days from the date they send you a bill.
Even if you enter into an installment agreement to pay your debt off over time, you may be faced with the embarrassment of a lien. While the lien will not necessarily keep you from selling your property, it does mean the IRS gets paid first, and if you don’t make enough to pay the IRS debt in full, you are still stuck with a lien on your remaining property. Keep in mind as well, once the lien is filed, it will be picked up by the three major credit bureaus. Your credit rating will take a major hit, and you may find it difficult—if not impossible—to buy a home or qualify for a personal loan.
That is a lot of financial damage that can take place over what may have been an honest error on your part. Fortunately, tax professionals like me are experienced with reducing the harm IRS debt can cause. Trying to do it alone is like trying to sue a mega-corporation such as AT&T or Microsoft without a lawyer. You could end up spending a lot of time and money with nothing to show for it. It just does not make good sense.