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How many Federal tax liens are filed each year?

The IRS files far fewer Forms 668-Y, Notice of Federal Tax Lien, than most tax professionals presume. In fact, the number of liens filed each year has been rapidly dropping over the past several years.

According to the annual IRS Data Book, here are the number of IRS tax liens placed on public record each year:

2009: 965,618 2010: 1,096,376 2011: 1,042,230 2012: 707,768 2013: 602,005 2014: 535,580 2015: 515,247 2016: 470,602 2017: 446,378

As you can see, the number of tax lien records filed by the IRS peaked in 2010 at just shy of 1.1 million. In the intervening seven years, annual lien filing volume has dropped a whopping 59%.

At the same time, however, the number of IRS Collections cases has been steadily increasing each year. In 2010, the IRS started the fiscal year with 9.6 million open tax debt cases. We started fiscal year 2018 with almost 14.1 million open tax debt cases, and increase of 45%. It’s interesting to note that the number of tax debt cases, and the dollar amount owed to the IRS, has skyrocketed during one of the strongest periods of economic recovery in American history. This clearly indicates that many small businesses and individuals have still been feeling the impact of the 2007-2008 crash many years after it happened.

So why has the IRS been filing fewer …
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Increasing the Utility of Your Federal Tax Lien Lists

Federal tax lien lists are useful for a variety of lead generation purposes. However, far too many firms use these lists for only limited purposes. This article will explore several methods for increasing the utility of those tax lien lists you have.

First, make sure that you are running all tax liens through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. Numerous companies provide this service, just do a Google search to find one. You can also obtain this service through a local direct mail service provider or list broker in your area, if you prefer to do business with local companies.

Not only is NCOA processing required by the US Postal Service, you’ll discover that it also reduces your returned mail volume substantially. Tax liens are, by definition, filed against companies and individuals that owe money to the government. Chances are, they also owe money to other organizations. As such, it is not uncommon for the businesses to close, and individuals to move. It’s simply the nature of the beast. Since tax liens are filed using the last known address, this is what goes into our database. Returned mail volumes of 15% to 30% are not uncommon when doing mailings to tax lien lists that have not been NCOA processed.

Second, if you are doing telemarketing, run the lists through a telephone data hygiene service …
» Continue Reading: Increasing the Utility of Your Federal Tax Lien Lists

Detailed Explanation of Tax Lien “Token” System

In the past, this service has operated under a variety of different pricing options. Most often, there were tiered pricing plans, with decreasing per-lien costs for each tier.

In order to create a nice, even number of tax lien downloads for each tier (say, 600 instead of 589), each tier credited an amount to your account that was actually different than what you paid in dollars.


Yeah, it was on our end, too!

So, here’s an ode to simplification. All that other crap is gone now. Instead, we’re now using a token system.

Remember old video game arcades that ran on tokens? When I was a kid, these stores all operated the same: For every game, there was a very simple system: 1 token = 1 game play.

Trade dollars for tokens, then play games. Very simple, very straightforward.

Compare that to some other arcade places. Some games were two quarters, some were three quarters, etc. This is basically equivalent to how this site used to operate.

Now, we’re using tokens. From now on, pricing will be quoted based on how many tokens you get. Then, it’s simple: 1 token = 1 tax lien.

Phone numbers will continue to be provided free of charge for those lien records that we are able to find a phone number through our search system. Whether there is …
» Continue Reading: Detailed Explanation of Tax Lien “Token” System

Federal Tax Liens Lists: Not Just For Tax Resolution

The average individual (1040) tax debtor for whom a federal tax lien is filed has approximately three years of unfiled tax returns that they will need prepared. As tax return filing season begins, it is a good idea to remind you that tax lien lists can be used to obtain new tax return clients, not just tax debt resolution clients.

By specifically targeting your direct mail marketing in particular to 1040 tax liens in your local area, you can bring in new 1040 return clients without ever even mentioning the tax lien, the tax debt situation, or even the unfiled returns.

The offer of reviewing the previous three years of tax returns has been a very successful marketing tactic for national tax return preparation franchises. When marketing to tax lien lists with a similar offer, you are reaching out to a target market that is more in need of this service than just about anybody else out there. Offering a free review of previous years of tax returns will speak to this market, and you never even have to mention the tax debt situation.

Since you can get market intelligently without mentioning the tax debt, sending postcards to federal tax lien lists of individuals with a tax lien filed against them will not seem unusual or raise any “red flags” in the prospect, since they …
» Continue Reading: Federal Tax Liens Lists: Not Just For Tax Resolution

Site update completed – yay!

The migration of this system to a new server is complete.

The server migration came with a significant number of changes to the code base that the site runs on, which introduced a lot of bugs (mainly login issues).

These bugs have all been squished, and the site has returned to normal operation. If you are still having login issues, please contact support.

There are a number of functionality updates that we will be applying to the site over the next couple weeks. We will do these at night (U.S. time) in order to minimize disruption of service during the business day.

We hope you enjoy the new faster, leaner tax lien system!

Tax lien database migration and server upgrade

On Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, we will be migrating the tax lien database and this entire web site to a new server.

Due to the sheer size of the database this process may take several hours. During this time, you will not be able to login to your account, download mailing lists, create batches, obtain data counts, or any other functions.

We have chosen to do this on a Saturday so as to hopefully minimize the inconvenience to our customers. Once moved to the upgraded server, the tax lien database system should be significantly faster.

Thank you for your patience while we conduct this upgrade.

Federal tax lien volume picking up

During the federal government shutdown in October, the IRS stopped filing new federal tax liens. That put a major damper on marketing efforts for those of us that rely heavily on tax liens for our marketing.

We’re starting to see lien volume picking up again finally. There was a full two weeks of nothing, then two more weeks of just a trickle. Literally over the course of the past few days, we’re finally starting to see a significant uptick in lien records we’re picking up. We’re still a long ways from the 400+ liens per day above our $5,000 threshold that we’re used to seeing across the country, but it’s back above 200 per day and growing.

This hickup in the flow of lien filing was a good time to remind ourselves about two important marketing rules:

1). Make sure that you’re wringing every ounce of value from your existing lien lists by contacting them multiple times over a lengthier time period.

2). Never rely on a single prospecting method to bring in all your clients.

No business, no matter how small, should have less than three different methods for bringing in new leads. Tax lien marketing is lucrative and powerful, but it shouldn’t be the only trick up your sleeve. If you’re not simultaneously utilizing non-lien marketing to help bring in clients, then you’re …
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Why mail multiple times to the same lien?

The vast majority of times, with very rare exceptions, you’re going to want to mail multiple times to every tax lien you contact. Why is this?

Let’s consider an example of one hit vs. multi-hit mailing. For approximately the same amount of money, you can send a mailer to 20,000 tax liens one time, or send 8 mailers to 2,500 mailers. If you get a 1% response rate from a one-time mailing, this is considered on the better side of things in the direct marketing world.

A 1% response rate to 20,000 mailers sent one time produces 200 prospects.

For multiple mailers, response rate compounds over time. Studies going back many decades demonstrate over and over that the majority of people respond AFTER the 5th contact attempt. If the aggregate response rate across 8 mailings is 10%, then we have 254 prospects to work with. This is 25% MORE prospects for the same marketing expenditure.

Most multi-hit mailings are built to be sequential, meaning that each mailing piece builds from the previous. This is an incredibly effective way to maximize the return on investment from your lead purchases.

Using Federal Tax Lien Leads To Get New Clients

Ever since the launch of this web site, I have had telephone and email conversations with literally hundreds of tax professionals – CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys – and by far the single most common question I am asked is this: How do I use Federal tax lien data for finding new clients?

Since this question comes up so frequently (literally several times every single day), I have put together this marketing tutorial to show you how to use tax lien leads for obtaining new clients.

The Big Picture Idea

There are a couple of core concepts I want to cover before we get into the nitty-gritty how to portion of this tutorial.

First, as a tax practitioner (or any professional service provider, for that matter), you need to realize one very important, fundamental concept: You are a CPA, tax attorney, or Enrolled Agent SECOND, and a sales and marketing professional FIRST. This is a very radical concept to most people, no matter what their line of work. But the bottom line reality is that if you are in a small firm or in private practice, then you need CLIENTS in order to pay the rent and put food on the table. In order to get clients, you have to do marketing (word of mouth and referrals are still “doing marketing”) and be a …
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Follow up marketing to your prospect database

To put it bluntly, if you’re not actively marketing to your prospect database on a regular basis, then you wasted the money you spent to obtain those prospects in the first place.

One amazing fact has held true in the sales world for nearly a century: The majority of sales are closed after the 5th contact with a prospect. This fact holds true for any industry, and the number of contacts required to close a sale increases as the price point of the product or service increases.

What does this mean for your prospect database? It means that you should have an automated, pre-set follow up sequence that your prospects get entered into. This follow up sequence should last for an absolute minimum of three months, although 6 months to a year is ideal.

Who gets assigned to this follow up campaign? A legitimate prospect is anybody that has:

personally met with you been given a telephone consultation requested information, such as a special report, from you visited your web site or called you

Basically, I consider a prospect to be anybody that has taken some action to express interest in tax services.

Has mentioned earlier, these prospects deserve special marketing attention. If they have requested information from you via the web, you should always at least request their email address and add them to …
» Continue Reading: Follow up marketing to your prospect database