What’s the difference between a lien and a levy?

A lien is a secured interest in an asset or assets. A Notice of Federal Tax Lien is a public record that notifies the world that you owe taxes, and places a public claim against your assets. A lien can can prevent also prevent you from refinancing, selling or transferring an asset subject to the lien. A levy occurs when the IRS actually takes assets from you now, including paychecks, bank accounts, investment accounts, and/or other assets.