If you are a homeowner and/or investment property owner; if you have had tax problems in the past or know you have tax problems now: 

To insure you have the best fresh start from your bankruptcy we encourage you to search the county records for any liens against you and/or any real property you own in the county.

 The IRS files tax liens under your name, Judgment Creditors file liens under your property address.  A proper search includes both ‘your name’ and ‘your property addresses.  

In a Chapter 7, if you are proactive, you may be able to eliminate judgment liens.  Proactive means (1) a proper search of the County Records before your bankruptcy petition is filed and (2) a Contested Matter is filed in your bankruptcy case where you asked the court to include the Judgment Lien in your Discharge Order.  The lien survives the bankruptcy and is collectable if you fail to ask the court.    

Before you file your petition, it is good to see if the Judgment Creditors Lien impairs your Exemption.  You will need a certified appraisal of your home, a copy of the most recent statement for all lenders such as the 1st, 2nd and HELOC lenders, and a copy of the liens.  The amount of your equity in your property will determine which Exemption Code Section is used.  If the Judgment Lien impairs your exemption, the Lien is released, when the Court orders so.

Tax liens are a bit trickier to include in your Discharge Order because a tax lien is more important than your exemption, so the tax lien is right behind your secured creditors.  If your secured creditors hold all of the equity in your property, then the tax lien can be changed into an unsecured tax debt with a separate set of rules; rules which look at when the debt was due, when the return was filed, and when the debt was assessed to see if the debt survives your bankruptcy and is collectable. 

The Orange County Recorder is located at:

12 Civic Center Plaza, Room 101Santa Ana, CA 92701

The Los Angeles County Recorder is located at:

12400 East Imperial Hwy

Norwalk, CA 90650

The San Bernardino County Recorder is located at:

222 West Hospitality Lane

San Bernardino, CA 92415

The Riverside County Recorder is located at:

2724 Gateway DriveRiverside, CA 92507-0918