Napa County Rejects IRS Fee Decrease to File Federal Tax Liens

October 10, 2019

In an undated letter received on Sept. 24, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that effective Oct. 1, 2019 it was lowering the fees it would pay for recording federal tax liens and releases.

The IRS sent similar letters to every county in California announcing different, lower fees for each county. The IRS decreased fees it would pay for tax liens from $15 to $10 and for releases from $7 to $5.

Napa County recorded 496 of these Federal documents between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

Napa County responded to the IRS by refusing to record those documents until the correct fees are paid. The county said federal court cases have established that the federal government must pay local fees to cover the cost of the services.  

“Our recording fees are established under state statute and county policy, and we apply them fairly to everyone,” John Tuteur, said Napa County recorder.

Tuteur has asked Napa County’s House of Representative member Mike Thompson to ask the House Oversight Committees in Washington D.C. to investigate and to convince the IRS to reverse course and pay the correct fees. 

Individuals who have received lien releases from the IRS can record them by going to the Napa County Recorder Division and paying the correct fee.

An additional impact is that title companies, lenders and other real estate industry participants will not know if a prospective borrower has outstanding federal tax obligations until those liens are recorded.

ALTA and the California Land Title Association are looking into this issue.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or