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Pennsylvania Tax Liens

What is a tax lien?
The Department of Revenue files a lien with the county Prothonotary Office when an individual or business has unpaid delinquent taxes. The lien ensures the Commonwealth of 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.).

How does the department use liens?
A lien allows the department to pursue progressive tax enforcement strategies such as wage garnishment, sales tax and employer withholding citations, and administrative bank attachment.

What is the lien list?
The list represents the original lien amounts. The current tax owed may differ from the amount listed on the lien lists due to partial payments and/or additional interest and penalties. A list is updated monthly, therefore a satisfied lien will still appear on list until the update is published.

Information on the list is limited to the individual or business name, city, county and state of the last known address for the tax delinquent; tax type, liability amount with the lien, docket number and lien filing date.

Why are liens public?
The department files liens in a county Prothonotary’s Office where the taxpayer resides or does business. Liens, along with most other court records, are public documents.

How to remove a lien for past-due tax?
A lien is removed when the department receives confirmation the past-due liability is paid. That process can take approximately 45 days after the liability has been resolved.

If your name or business name appears on the list and you want to resolve your tax liability or you believe the liability is paid, contact the department at 717-787-3911.

How can I get a lien removed from the credit bureau report?
The Department of Revenue does not report lien information directly to the credit bureau agencies. However, the tax lien and the cancellation of the lien are considered public information which credit bureau agencies can obtain on their own. When a lien is satisfied, the department sends you a lien satisfaction notice. You can send a copy of the notice to credit bureau(s) requesting to modify or remove the lien from your credit report.

Who will contact me about a tax lien? 

The Department of Revenue will mail taxpayers to notify them that a lien has been filed with the county Prothonotary’s Office. The department also contracts with outside law firms, including Wong Fleming and Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, for out-of-state lien enforcement. As a result, taxpayers may receive notices from law firms working for the department regarding liens. If you have any questions about a notice or a lien, please contact the department at 717-787-3911.