For a business entity, a lien is a legal claim against the company where an encumbrance on the business's property is used to secure a debt the business owner owes to another company. If your business wants to apply for a loan or credit or is planning a major purchase, you want to make sure your business is in good standing. There are ways you can search to determine whether there is a lien filed against it.
Contact or visit your local county courthouse and seek information from the clerk's office on where business liens are filed. Liens are public record. Any business or creditor filing a lien against your company would do so in the jurisdiction where the business is located.
Contact your Secretary of State's office for information on its Uniform Commercial Code filings (see Resources for a nationwide listing). The Secretary of State website defines the Uniform Commercial Code as "a comprehensive set of laws governing commercial transactions between U.S. states and territories. These transactions include borrowing money, leases, contracts and the sale of goods." These filings have information on liens filed against companies in each state.
Call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to receive a copy of your Notice of Federal Tax Lien. This was filed against your company for unpaid taxes (see Resources for a link).
- If there is a discrepancy or lien you believe was wrongfully filed against your business, contact an attorney for legal advice as liens cannot be released without proof that the debt has been satisfied.
- For a small fee, you can conduct an online search of your business using Experian's database (see Resources). The business report includes information on any liens filed.
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