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Legal Memorandum: IRS's Ability to Enforce a Tax Lien

Issue: If a judgment is entered by a bankruptcy court, does the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act (FDCPA), 28 U.S.C. 3001, et seq., control the collection of an IRS debt and does the IRS no longer have ability to enforce the tax lien or jurisdiction over the debtor as to the tax lien?

Area of Law: Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights, Tax Law
Keywords: Tax lien; Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act (FDCPA); Judgment lien
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: 28 U.S.C. 3001, et seq.; 28 U.S.C. § 3003(b); 28 U.S.C. § 3201
Date: 12/01/2009

Very little support exists, but in Watson v. Mahaffey, No. C-08-59, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30359 n.12 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 11, 2008), in which the court noted that 28 U.S.C. § 3201 was inapplicable because the lien was a tax lien, not a judgment lien.  To the contrary, the FDCPA expressly states that it is not to “be construed to limit the right of the United States under any other Federal law . . . to collect taxes or to collect any other amount collectible in the same manner as a tax.”  28 U.S.C. § 3003(b).  The section has been construed as defeating any argument that the IRS’ collection procedures violate the FDCPA.  McCurdy v. United States of Am., No. Civ.A. 04-12460RWZ, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11086 (D. Mass. June 8, 2005).

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