Many people are surprised to learn they have tax liens. Unfortunately, those liens are public information, and are even reported by credit bureaus. This story relates to problems that our clients see every day. That is – incorrect or outdated federal tax liens.


The Good News: People with old tax liens actually got a break here!


Equifax, the credit reporting agency, has settled with a group of plaintiffs to end a class action lawsuit. Those who filed the case initial complaint claimed that the credit bureau gave incorrect information about IRS tax liens (and other items) on consumer credit reports.


If you qualify, you could be eligible to receive payment up to $1,500 from this settlement. 


You may be eligible if, between June 28, 2015 and May 14, 2019, Equifax issued your credit report to any third-party (a bank, insurance quote, job background check, etc). In that case, you are eligible if that report contained inaccurate or incorrect Federal Tax Lien, State Tax Lien (ie: Illinois), or civil judgment data.


Nearly 2 dozen separate lawsuits against Equifax alleged that this major consumer credit bureau violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA. Nearly 2 dozen!



According to the complaint, Equifax reported inaccurate public records information about consumers’ tax liabilities, tax liens, judgments, and other collection matters. Specifically, the lead plaintiffs claimed Equifax reported false information regarding public consumers’ state tax liens, federal tax liens, and civil judgments.


According to the complaint, when Equifax reported thousands of tax liens or judgments as unpaid, the bureau was incorrect. Many of those liens were actually paid. Many more were partially paid. Some liens were expired, or even “self-released”, all of which were still reported in error.


When this type of information is misreported, it could easily impact a person’s finances:

  • It could affect someone’s ability to get a credit card of bank loan. 
  • A person’s interest rates for that loan would also be affected. 
  • Potentially, someone could be denied credit, or pay more for credit.
  • Someone could be denied employment, or possibly even terminated from employment.

All based on these Equifax credit report errors. 


These events are called “Adverse Actions”. This is not to be confused with IRS and state enforcement of tax liens, which are by their nature, adverse.


See our “Frequently Asked Questions” on Handling Tax Liens.



A class action settlement website was established, to allow easy claim registration for those who believe that could have been affected. Based on the settlement terms, Class Members may file a claim if they suffered an “adverse action” due to Equifax’s misreporting of the information mentioned above. 


For any Class Member that can prove he/she experienced an adverse action, payments could be as much as $1,500.


Claims can be submitted either online or by mail. 


Other Class Members do not have to submit a claim, but can still benefit from the Equifax public records settlement. Here’s how:


  • Under the agreement, Equifax must stop reporting civil judgments and liens for the next 5 years. 
  • In addition, after the 5 years is over, Equifax can still only report new tax lien information and civil judgment information in credit reports. 


Class Members can accept this portion of the settlement benefits without filing claim.


NOTE: If you do not qualify for this settlement do NOT file a claim. Remember: you are submitting your claim under penalty of perjury. False claims actually hurt the recovery for eligible Class Members. Plus, someone submitting a fraudulent claim could be prosecuted for multiple federal crimes.