Pennsylvania Tax LienS
What is a tax lien?
By filing a lien against a delinquent taxpayer, the department protects the commonwealth’s interest in tax money due the state and ensures Pennsylvania is listed as a priority creditor that must be paid before other financial transactions can take place (home sales, business transfer, obtaining a loan, etc.).
Liens are filed against taxpayers (individuals and businesses) after we have exhausted a number of other collections efforts, including notices, assessments and even phone calls and visits.
How does the department use liens?
A lien is the first step in pursuing tax enforcement against past-due taxes and sets the stage for wage garnishment, sales tax and employer withholding citations and administrative bank attachment.
Automation of lien filing in recent years has enabled the department to file liens sooner after appeal rights expire, allowing the department to pursue back taxes more efficiently and effectively against those failing to pay their fair share.
Why is this tax information public?
Lien are publicly recorded in a county Prothonotary’s Office where the taxpayer resides or does business.
The amounts listed on the site are the amounts of the original liens, including tax, interest and penalties. The current amount of tax due may differ from the amount listed on the site because of partial payments and/or the accrual of additional interest and penalties since the tax lien was filed.
History of Lien Lists
For many years the department has made public information about state tax liens. Originally, lien lists only reflected liens against businesses, but following the conclusion of the 2010 Tax Amnesty program and implementation of an automated system for filing liens, the lien list grew in recent years to include all liens filed after July 2009 against businesses and individuals.
As the department progresses in a multi-year project incorporating more than 30 legacy information technology systems into a single, modern integrated tax system, it recognized the need to temporarily suspend publishing of a monthly lien list in the Fall of 2014.
The department intends to resume publishing one or more lien lists in the future, once system conversion is complete and the department is confident in the accuracy of such publication(s).