Both liens and levies offer a way to collect debts. The main difference between a lien and a levy is, a lien gives collection agencies temporary rights to your property and a levy is when a collection agency takes your property with no intention of returning it.

Liens and levies are debt collection strategies that enforce debtors to repay any outstanding tax debts. When liens or levies are used to collect on a debt, the debtor will lose control over some or all of their personal property. A lien is an assertion against property used as collateral to secure a particular debt. If the debtor sells any of the personal property, proceeds from the sale must go to the unpaid debt. For example, if a debtor is unable to make their mortgage payments, the lending institution has the right to sell their house in an attempt to make up the amount of the debt.

There are some exceptions to this rule and an example of that is if it is something like a work vehicle or machine. A debtor has the opportunity to continue making up any late payments and still be in possession of their property. In other cases, however, the property is in the possession of the lender until the debt is repaid. A levy grants a legal right to seize any property to meet outstanding tax obligations. Levies are essentially used to collect unpaid taxes and give the IRS the right to take any and all assets necessary to satisfy the debt. A levy is a more serious step toward debt collection than a lien.

If you are in the process of filing bankruptcy, get in contact with an experienced attorney who can help you figure out a way to keep your personal life to yourself. Don’t let a collection agency take what is yours away from you!

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