Tax Relief Counsel:

Tax Lien & Tax Levy Attorney in Washington, D.C.

Ramy Shabana, an experienced tax attorney and founder of Tax Relief Counsel, is dedicated to helping clients resolve their tax lien and levy issues.

With personalized service and proactive advocacy, he and his capable team are here to protect your rights and offer hope. Contact Tax Relief Counsel today for a free consultation.

What Is an IRS Tax Lien?

In Fiscal Year 2022, the IRS assessed nearly $23.8 billion in additional taxes for returns not fied timely and collected almost $2.3 billion with delinquent returns.

An IRS tax lien is a legal claim against an individual’s property or assets by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Such a claim is imposed when a taxpayer fails to pay their federal taxes owed. The tax lien serves as a security interest for the government, ensuring that the IRS has control over the taxpayer’s property until the tax debt is satisfied.

Once a federal tax lien is filed, it becomes a matter of public record and may appear on the taxpayer’s credit report, potentially impacting their creditworthiness and ability to obtain loans or credit. A tax lien can also result in the IRS seizing the taxpayer’s assets to satisfy the outstanding debt if it remains unpaid.

What Is a Washington, D.C., Tax Lien?

In D.C., the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) may impose tax liens against properties when taxes go unpaid. These liens are intended to secure outstanding debts and remain in place until the debt is settled. If the taxes continue to go unpaid, the OTR may initiate foreclosure proceedings.

By law, the OTR auctions tax liens annually, allowing interested bidders to purchase certificates. Buyers gain the right to pursue delinquent taxes and may foreclose on the property. Unlike standard property auctions, tax lien foreclosures aim to extinguish all other liens and obtain fee-simple ownership.

What Is an IRS Tax Levy?

What Is an IRS Tax Levy?

An IRS tax levy is a legal action the IRS takes to seize a taxpayer’s property or assets with the aim of satisfying an unpaid tax debt.

Unlike a tax lien, which is a claim against the taxpayer’s property, a tax levy involves the actual seizure of assets. The IRS has the authority to levy assets like bank accounts, wages, real estate, vehicles, and other personal property to collect outstanding tax debts.

The IRS will typically issue a levy after it has sent multiple notices and warnings to the taxpayer regarding their unpaid taxes and attempts to collect the debt have been unsuccessful.

What Is a Washington, D.C., Tax Levy?

The Office of Tax and Revenue also has the authority to issue levies to collect unpaid taxes. Such action involves seizing wages, bank accounts, accounts receivable, and other assets held by third parties and owed to the taxpayer. When a levy is issued, the entity holding the money or assets is legally required to turn them over to the OTR.

In some cases, it may also be necessary for the OTR to take possession of property like residences, business establishments, or vehicles to satisfy the tax debt.

After the property is seized, the OTR may sell it at a public auction if the taxes remain unpaid. The proceeds from the sale are first used to cover the expenses of the sale, with any remaining balance applied to the delinquent taxes owed.

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How to Remove a Lien

If you’re facing a tax lien in Washington, D.C., whether from the federal government or the District’s taxing authority, you should know that there are steps you can take to address it.

For Federal Tax Liens (IRS)

Here’s an overview of the various options for dealing with an IRS tax lien.

Payment of Tax Debt

Paying your tax debt in full is the quickest way to remove a federal tax lien. Once the debt is settled, the IRS will typically release the lien within 30 days.

Discharge of Property

You can request a discharge to remove the lien from specific types of property. Provisions laid out in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) determine eligibility.



Subordination doesn’t remove the lien but allows other creditors to take precedence over the IRS, potentially making it easier to obtain a loan or mortgage.


A withdrawal removes the public notice of the federal tax lien, indicating that the IRS isn’t competing with other creditors for your property. However, you’ll still be responsible for the amount owed.

Fresh Start Initiative

The IRS Commissioner’s 2011 Fresh Start initiative presents two additional withdrawal options:

  • Withdrawal After the Lien’s Release: You may qualify if your tax liability has been satisfied and you’ve been compliant with filing and payment requirements for the past three years.
  • Withdrawal With a Direct Debit Installment Agreement: Qualifying taxpayers with a debt of $25,000 or less can request withdrawal if they enter into a Direct Debit Installment Agreement (DDIA) and meet certain criteria.

A qualified tax attorney can explain these options to you in greater detail.

For Washington, D.C., Tax Liens (Office of Tax and Revenue)

The process for addressing liens imposed by district authorities can vary, but options similar to those for federal tax liens may apply. Working with the knowledgeable tax lien attorney at Tax Relief Counsel can help make your tax obligations more manageable.

How Do I Get a Levy Released in Washington, D.C.?

There are several courses of action worth considering when dealing with a levy in Washington, D.C.

Payment in Full

The first and best option is to pay your outstanding tax debt completely to the appropriate tax authority, whether it’s the IRS for federal levies or the OTR for state levies.

Installment Agreement

You might also negotiate an installment agreement with the taxing authority to pay off the debt in monthly payments. This option is available for both federal and state levies.

Offer in Compromise

Consider submitting an offer in compromise (OIC) to settle your debt for less than the full amount owed. Note, however, that this option only applies to federal levies imposed by the IRS.

Release Due to Hardship

Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to request a release based on financial hardship. You must provide documentation to support your claim of financial hardship, such as evidence of income, expenses, and assets.


Initiating bankruptcy proceedings may trigger the release of certain levies. If you’ve filed for bankruptcy, discuss potential levy release options with your bankruptcy trustee and the taxing authority.

Innocent Spouse Relief

You may be able to seek innocent spouse relief if your tax debt is related to your spouse or former spouse’s tax obligations. This is another option that’s only available for federal levies.

Collection Due Process (CDP) Hearing

If you disagree with the levy or believe it was issued in error, request a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing with the IRS or district tax authority. Doing so will give you an opportunity to present your case and potentially resolve the issue through mediation or other means.

How Our Tax Lien Lawyer Can Help You

When you choose Tax Relief Counsel, you gain access to a legal team that knows what steps to take to effectively address your tax issues. We offer all of the following services.

  • Case Assessment

    We’ll start by conducting a comprehensive review of your tax situation, including your financial documents, tax records, and any correspondence from tax authorities.

  • Careful Strategization

    Next, we’ll develop a strategy tailored to your specific circumstances and goals based on our initial assessment. Whether you’re dealing with tax liens, levies, or other concerns, we can outline a clear plan of action.

  • Communication with Tax Authorities

    Our team will oversee all necessary correspondence with the IRS or state tax authorities on your behalf. We’ll represent your interests and negotiate with tax officials to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

  • Negotiation for Relief

    We can leverage our negotiation skills to pursue various forms of tax relief, such as installment agreements, offers in compromise, penalty abatement, or lien releases. We’ll advocate for the most favorable terms to resolve your tax debt.

  • Legal Protection

    With Tax Relief Counsel on your side, you can count on top-tier legal representation and protection. We’ll ensure that your rights are upheld and advocate for fair treatment under the law.


Why Choose
Tax Relief Counsel?

Here are some of the standout benefits you’ll receive when you partner with our firm.



Does a lien come before a levy?

A lien is indeed put in place before a levy; if a taxpayer doesn’t pay their debt within a certain timeframe, a levy can then be issued. While liens don’t take away ownership rights, a levy can result in the government seizing the taxpayer’s property and claiming ownership.

What does "intent to levy" mean?

The IRS will notify you of its intent to levy in a formal letter if it intends to seize your assets due to your outstanding tax debt, but only if you haven’t attempted to resolve it. You’ll receive this notice for each tax period they intend to collect for by taking your property.

How much time can pass before a lien becomes a levy?

Before the government can legally take your assets, they’ll send you a Final Notice of Intent to Levy. This gives you 30 days from the day you receive the warning to satisfy your outstanding debts.

It’s important to note that this time frame has some exceptions. For instance, your tax refunds (both federal and state) can still be levied within the 30-day window. In addition, the IRS may take action if they suspect you’re trying to get rid of your property to avoid paying your debts.

Will a lien or levy affect my credit?

Public records of liens can impact your credit score if credit monitoring agencies become aware of them. This could prevent you from acquiring more debt, like loans or credit cards.

To eliminate the lien from your credit report, you must inform the credit reporting agencies once it’s released. Levies won’t affect your credit score because they aren’t a matter of public record.

Have Questions?
Talk to a Qualified Tax Lawyer

Receiving notice of a lien or levy can be stressful. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Reach out to Tax Relief Counsel today to discuss your situation and explore the relief options available to you.