26 CFR § 301.6323(b)-1 - Protection for certain interests even though notice filed.

§ 301.6323(b)-1 Protection for certain interests even though notice filed.

(a) Securities - (1) In general. Even though a notice of a lien imposed by section 6321 is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, the lien is not valid with respect to a security (as defined in paragraph (d) of § 301.6323(h)-1) against -

(i) A purchaser (as defined in paragraph (f) of § 301.6323(h)-1) of the security who at the time of purchase did not have actual notice or knowledge (as defined in paragraph (a) of § 301.6323(i)-1) of the existence of the lien;

(ii) A holder of a security interest (as defined in paragraph (a) of § 301.6323(h)-1) in the security who did not have actual notice or knowledge (as defined in paragraph (a) of § 301.6323(i)-1) of the existence of the lien at the time the security interest came into existence or at the time such security interest was acquired from a previous holder for a consideration in money or money's worth; or

(iii) A transferee of an interest protected under subdivision (i) or (ii) of this subparagraph to the same extent the lien is invalid against his transferor.

For purposes of subdivision (iii) of this subparagraph, no person can improve his position with respect to the lien by reacquiring the interest from an intervening purchaser or holder of a security interest against whom the lien is invalid.

(2) Examples. The application of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
On May 1, 1969, in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, a notice of lien is filed with respect to A's delinquent tax liability. On May 20, 1969. A sells 100 shares of common stock in X corporation to B, who, on the date of the sale, does not have actual notice or knowledge of the existence of the lien. Because B purchased the stock without actual notice or knowledge of the lien, under subdivision (i) of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph, the stock purchased by B is not subject to the lien.
Example 2.
Assume the same facts as in example 1 except that on May 30, 1969, B sells the 100 shares of common stock in X corporation to C who on May 5, 1969, had actual notice of the existence of the tax lien against A. Because the X stock when purchased by B was not subject to the lien, under subdivision (iii) of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph, the stock purchased by C is not subject to the lien. C succeeds to B's rights, even though C had actual notice of the lien before B's purchase.
Example 3.
On June 1, 1970, in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, a notice of lien is filed with respect to D's delinquent tax liability. D owns 20 $1,000 bonds issued by the Y company. On June 10, 1970, D obtains a loan from M bank for $5,000 using the Y company bonds as collateral. At the time the loan is made M bank does not have actual notice or knowledge of the existence of the tax lien. Because M bank did not have actual notice or knowledge of the lien when the security interest came into existence, under subdivision (ii) of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph, the tax lien is not valid against M bank to the extent of its security interest.
Example 4.
Assume the same facts as in example 3 except that on June 19, 1970, M bank assigns the chose in action and its security interest to N, who had actual notice or knowledge of the existence of the lien on June 1, 1970. Because the security interest was not subject to the lien to the extent of M bank's security interest, the security interest held by N is to the same extent entitled to priority over the tax lien because N succeeds to M bank's rights. See subdivision (iii) of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph.
Example 5.
On July 1, 1970, in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, a notice of lien is filed with respect to E's delinquent tax liability. E owns ten $1,000 bonds issued by the Y company. On July 5, 1970, E borrows $4,000 from F and delivers the bonds to F as collateral for the loan. At the time the loan is made, F has actual knowledge of the existence of the tax lien and, therefore, holds the security interest subject to the lien on the bonds. On July 10, 1970, F sells the security interest to G for $4,000 and delivers the Y company bonds pledged as collateral. G does not have actual notice or knowledge of the existence of the lien on July 10, 1970. Because G did not have actual notice or knowledge of the lien at the time he purchased the security interest, under subdivision (ii) of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph, the tax lien is not valid against G to the extent of his security interest.
Example 6.
Assume the same facts as in example 5 except that, instead of purchasing the security interest from F on July 10, 1970, G lends $4,000 to F and takes a security interest in F's security interest in the bonds on that date. Because G became the holder of a security interest in a security interest after notice of lien was filed and does not directly have a security interest in a security, the security interest held by G is not entitled to a priority over the tax lien under the provisions of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph.

(b) Motor vehicles -

(1) In general. Even though a notice of a lien imposed by section 6321 is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, the lien is not valid against a purchaser (as defined in paragraph (f) of § 301.6323(h)-1) of a motor vehicle (as defined in paragraph (c) of § 301.6323(h)-1) if -

(i) At the time of the purchase, the purchaser did not have actual notice or knowledge (as defined in paragraph (a) of § 301.6323(i)-1) of the existence of the lien, and

(ii) Before the purchaser obtains such notice or knowledge, he has acquired actual possession of the motor vehicle and has not thereafter relinquished actual possession to the seller or his agent.

(2) Examples. The application of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
A, a delinquent taxpayer against whom a notice of tax lien has been filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, sells his automobile (which qualifies as a motor vehicle under paragraph (c) of § 301.6323(h)-1) to B, an automobile dealer. B takes actual possession of the automobile and does not thereafter relinquish actual possession to the seller or his agent. Subsequent to his purchase, B learns of the existence of the tax lien against A. Even though notice of lien was filed before the purchase, the lien is not valid against B, because B did not know of the existence of the lien before the purchase and before acquiring actual possession of the vehicle.
Example 2.
C is a wholesaler of used automobiles. A notice of lien has been filed with respect to C's delinquent tax liability in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1. Subsequent to such filing, D, a used automobile dealer, purchases and takes actual possession of 20 automobiles (which qualify as motor vehicles under the provisions of paragraph (c) of § 301.6323(h)-1) from C at an auction and places them on his lot for sale. C does not reacquire possession of any of the automobiles. At the time of his purchase, D does not have actual notice or knowledge of the existence of the lien against C. Even though notice of lien was filed before D's purchase, the lien was not valid against D because D did not know of the existence of the lien before the purchase and before acquiring actual possession of the vehicles.

(3) Cross reference. For provisions relating to additional circumstances in which the lien imposed by section 6321 may not be valid against the purchaser of tangible personal property (including a motor vehicle) purchased at retail, see paragraph (c) of this section.

(c) Personal property purchased at retail -

(1) In general. Even though a notice of a lien imposed by section 6321 is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, the lien is not valid against a purchaser (as defined in paragraph (f) of § 301.6323(h)-1) of tangible personal property purchased at a retail sale (as defined in subparagraph (2) of this paragraph (c)) unless at the time of purchase the purchaser intends the purchase to (or knows that the purchase will) hinder, evade, or defeat the collection of any tax imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

(2) Definition of retail sale. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “retail sale” means a sale, made in the ordinary course of the seller's trade or business, of tangible personal property of which the seller is the owner. Such term includes a sale in customary retail quantities by a seller who is going out of business, but does not include a bulk sale or an auction sale in which goods are offered in quantities substantially greater than are customary in the ordinary course of the seller's trade or business or an auction sale of goods the owner of which is not in the business of selling such goods.

(3) Example. The application of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following example:

Example.
A purchases a refrigerator from the M company, a retail appliance dealer. Prior to such purchase, a notice of lien was filed with respect to M's delinquent tax liability in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1. At the time of the purchase A knows of the existence of the lien. However, A does not intend the purchase to hinder, evade, or defeat the collection of any internal revenue tax, and A does not have any reason to believe that the purchase will affect the collection of any internal revenue tax. Even though notice of lien was filed before the purchase, the lien is not valid against A because A in good faith purchased the refrigerator at retail in the ordinary course of the M company's business.

(d) Personal property purchased in casual sale -

(1) In general. Even though a notice of lien imposed by section 6321 is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, the lien is not valid against a purchaser (as defined in § 301.6323(h)-1(f)) of household goods, personal effects, or other tangible personal property of a type described in § 301.6334-1 (which includes wearing apparel, school books, fuel, provisions, furniture, arms for personal use, livestock, and poultry (whether or not the seller is the head of a family); and books and tools of a trade, business, or profession (whether or not the trade, business, or profession of the seller)), purchased, other than for resale, in a casual sale for less than $1,380, effective for 2010 and adjusted each year based on the rate of inflation (excluding interest and expenses described in § 301.6323(e)-1).

(2) Limitation. This paragraph applies only if the purchaser does not have actual notice or knowledge (as defined in paragraph (a) of § 301.6323(i)-1) -

(i) Of the existence of the tax lien, or

(ii) That the sale is one of a series of sales.

For purposes of subdivision (ii) of this subparagraph, a sale is one of a series of sales if the seller plans to dispose of, in separate transactions, substantially all of his household goods, personal effects, and other tangible personal property described in § 301.6334-1.

(3) Examples. The application of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
A, an attorney's widow, sells a set of law books for $200 to B, for B's own use. Prior to the sale a notice of lien was filed with respect to A's delinquent tax liability in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1. B has no actual notice or knowledge of the tax lien. In addition, B does not know that the sale is one of a series of sales. Because the sale is a casual sale for less than $1,380 and involves books of a profession (tangible personal property of a type described in § 301.6334-1, irrespective of the fact that A has never engaged in the legal profession), the tax lien is not valid against B even though a notice of lien was filed prior to the time of B's purchase.
Example 2.
Assume the same facts as in example 1 except that B purchases the books for resale in his second-hand bookstore. Because B purchased the books for resale, he purchased the books subject to the lien.
Example 3.
In an advertisement appearing in a local newspaper, G indicates that he is offering for sale a lawn mower, a used television set, a desk, a refrigerator, and certain used dining room furniture. In response to the advertisement, H purchases the dining room furniture for $200. H does not receive any information which would impart notice of a lien, or that the sale is one of a series of sales, beyond the information contained in the advertisement. Prior to the sale a notice of lien was filed with respect to G's delinquent tax liability in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1. Because H had no actual notice or knowledge that substantially all of G's household goods were being sold or that the sale is one of a series of sales, and because the sale is a casual sale for less than $1,380, H does not purchase the dining room furniture subject to the lien. The household goods are of a type described in § 301.6334-1(a)(2) irrespective of whether G is the head of a family or whether all such household goods offered for sale exceed $8,250 in value.

(e) Personal property subject to possessory liens. Even though a notice of a lien imposed by section 6321 is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, the lien is not valid against a holder of a lien on tangible personal property which under local law secures the reasonable price of the repair or improvement of the property if the property is, and has been, continuously in the possession of the holder of the lien from the time the possessory lien arose. For example, if local law gives an automobile repairman the right to retain possession of an automobile he has repaired as security for payment of the repair bill and the repairman retains continuous possession of the automobile until his lien is satisfied, a tax lien filed in accordance with section 6323(f)(1) which has attached to the automobile will not be valid to the extent of the reasonable price of the repairs. It is immaterial that the notice of tax lien was filed before the repairman undertook his work or that he knew of the lien before undertaking the work.

(f) Real property tax and special assessment liens -

(1) In general. Even though a notice of a lien imposed by section 6321 is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, the lien is not valid against the holder of another lien upon the real property (regardless of when such other lien arises), if such other lien is entitled under local law to priority over security interests in real property which are prior in time and if such other lien on real property secures payment of -

(i) A tax of general application levied by any taxing authority based upon the value of the property;

(ii) A special assessment imposed directly upon the property by any taxing authority, if the assessment is imposed for the purpose of defraying the cost of any public improvement; or

(iii) Charges for utilities or public services furnished to the property by the United States, a State or political subdivision thereof, or an instrumentality of any one or more of the foregoing.

(2) Examples. The application of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
A owns Blackacre in the city of M. A notice of lien affecting Blackacre is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1. Subsequent to the filing of the notice of lien, the city of M acquires a lien against Blackacre to secure payment of real estate taxes. Such taxes are levied against all property in the city in proportion to the value of the property. Under local law, the holder of a lien for real property taxes is entitled to priority over a security interest in real property even though the security interest is prior in time. Because the real property tax lien held by the city of M secures payment of a tax of general application and is entitled to priority over security interests which are prior in time, the lien held by the city of M is entitled to priority over the Federal tax lien with respect to Blackacre.
Example 2.
B owns Whiteacre in N county. A notice of lien affecting Whiteacre is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1. Subsequent to the filing of the notice of lien, N county constructs a sidewalk, paves the street, and installs water and sewer lines adjacent to Whiteacre. In order to defray the cost of these improvements, N county imposes upon Whiteacre a special assessment which under local law results in a lien upon Whiteacre that is entitled to priority over security interests that are prior in time. Because the special assessment lien is (i) entitled under local law to priority over security interests which are prior in time, and (ii) imposed directly upon real property to defray the cost of a public improvement, the special assessment lien has priority over the Federal tax lien with respect to Whiteacre.
Example 3.
C owns Greenacre in town O. A notice of lien affecting Greenacre is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1. Town O furnishes water and electricity to Greenacre and periodically collects a fee for these services. Subsequent to the filing of the notice of lien, town O supplies water and electricity to Greenacre, and C fails to pay the charges for these services. Under local law, town O acquires a lien to secure charges for the services, and this lien has priority over security interests which are prior in time. Because the lien of town O (i) is for services furnished to the real property and (ii) has priority over earlier security interests, town O's lien has priority over the Federal tax lien with respect to Greenacre.

(g) Residential property subject to a mechanic's lien for certain repairs and improvements -

(1) In general. Even though a notice of a lien imposed by section 6321 is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, the lien is not valid against a mechanic's lienor (as defined in § 301.6323(h)-1(b)) who holds a lien for the repair or improvement of a personal residence if -

(i) The residence is occupied by the owner and contains no more than four dwelling units; and

(ii) The contract price on the prime contract with the owner for the repair or improvement (excluding interest and expenses described in § 301.6323(e)-1) is not more than $6,890, effective for 2010 and adjusted each year based on the rate of inflation.

(iii) For purposes of paragraph (g)(1)(ii) of this section, the amounts of subcontracts under the prime contract with the owner are not to be taken into consideration for purposes of computing the $6,890 prime contract price. It is immaterial that the notice of tax lien was filed before the contractor undertakes his work or that he knew of the lien before undertaking his work.

(2) Examples. The application of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
A owns a building containing four apartments, one of which he occupies as his personal residence. A notice of lien which affects the building is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1. Thereafter, A enters into a contract with B in the amount of $800, which includes labor and materials, to repair the roof of the building. B purchases roofing shingles from C for $300. B completes the work and A fails to pay B the agreed amount. In turn, B fails to pay C for the shingles. Under local law, B and C acquire mechanic's liens on A's building. Because the contract price on the prime contract with A is not more than $6,890 and under local law B and C acquire mechanic's liens on A's building, the liens of B and C have priority over the Federal tax lien.
Example 2.
Assume the same facts as in Example 1, except that the amount of the prime contract between A and B is $7,100. Because the amount of the prime contract with the owner, A, is in excess of $6,890, the tax lien has priority over the entire amount of each of the mechanic's liens of B and C, even though the amount of the contract between B and C is $300.
Example 3.
Assume the same facts as in Example 1, except that A and B do not agree in advance upon the amount due under the prime contract but agree that B will perform the work for the cost of materials and labor plus 10 percent of such cost. When the work is completed, it is determined that the total amount due is $850. Because the prime contract price is not more than $6,890 and under local law B and C acquire mechanic's liens on A's residence, the liens of B and C have priority over the Federal tax lien.

(h) Attorney's liens -

(1) In general. Even though notice of a lien imposed by section 6321 is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, the lien is not valid against an attorney who, under local law, holds a lien upon, or a contract enforceable against, a judgment or other amount in settlement of a claim or of a cause of action. The priority afforded an attorney's lien under this paragraph shall not exceed the amount of the attorney's reasonable compensation for obtaining the judgment or procuring the settlement. For purposes of this paragraph, reasonable compensation means the amount customarily allowed under local law for an attorney's services for litigating or settling a similar case or administrative claim. However, reasonable compensation shall be determined on the basis of the facts and circumstances of each individual case. It is immaterial that the notice of tax lien is filed before the attorney undertakes his work or that the attorney knows of the tax lien before undertaking his work. This paragraph does not apply to an attorney's lien which may arise from the defense of a claim or cause of action against a taxpayer except to the extent such lien is held upon a judgment or other amount arising from the adjudication or settlement of a counterclaim in favor of the taxpayer. In the case of suits against the taxpayer, see § 301.6325-1(d)(2) for rules relating to the subordination of the tax lien to facilitate tax collection.

(2) Claim or cause of action against the United States. Paragraph (h)(1) of this section does not apply to an attorney's lien with respect to -

(i) Any judgment or other fund resulting from the successful litigation or settlement of an administrative claim or cause of action against the United States to the extent that the United States, under any legal or equitable right, offsets its liability under the judgment or settlement against any liability of the taxpayer to the United States, or

(ii) Any amount credited against any liability of the taxpayer in accordance with section 6402.

(3) Examples. The provisions of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
A notice of lien is filed against A in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1. Subsequently, A is struck by an automobile and retains B, an attorney to institute suit on A's behalf against the operator of the automobile. B knows of the tax lien before he begins his work. Under local law, B is entitled to a lien upon any recovery in order to secure payment of his fee. A is awarded damages of $10,000. B charges a fee of $3,000 which is the fee customarly allowed under local law in similar cases and which is found to be reasonable under the circumstances of this particular case. Because, under local law, B holds a lien for the amount of his reasonable compensation for obtaining the judgment, B's lien has priority over the Federal tax lien.
Example 2.
Assume the same facts as in example 1, except that before suit is instituted A and the owner of the automobile settle out of court for $7,500. B charges a reasonable and customary fee of $1,800 for procuring the settlement and under local law holds a lien upon the settlement in order to secure payment of the fee. Because, under local law, B holds a lien for the amount of his reasonable compensation for obtaining the settlement, B has priority over the Federal tax lien.
Example 3.
In accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, a notice of lien in the amount of $8,000 is filed against C, a contractor. Subsequently C retains D, an attorney, to initiate legal proceedings to recover the amount allegedly due him for construction work he has performed for the United States. C and D enter into an agreement which provides that D will receive a reasonable and customary fee of $2,500 as compensation for his services. Under local law, the agreement will give rise to a lien which is enforceable by D against any amount recovered in the suit. C is successful in the suit and is awarded $10,000. D claims $2,500 of the proceeds as his fee. The United States, however, exercises its right of set-off and applies $8,000 of the $10,000 award to satisfy C's tax liability. Because the $10,000 award resulted from the successful litigation of a cause of action against the United States, B's contract for attorney's fees is not enforceable against the amount recovered to the extent the United States offsets its liability under the judgment against C's tax liability. It is immaterial that D had no notice or knowledge of the tax lien at the time he began work on the case.

(i) Certain insurance contracts -

(1) In general. Even though a notice of a lien imposed by section 6321 is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, the lien is not valid with respect to a life insurance, endowment, or annuity contract, against an organization which is the insurer under the contract, at any time -

(i) Before the insuring organization has actual notice or knowledge (as defined in paragraph (a) of § 301.6323(i)-1) of the existence of the tax lien,

(ii) After the insuring organization has actual notice or knowledge of the lien (as defined in paragraph (a) of § 301.6323(i)-1), with respect to advances (including contractual interest thereon as provided in paragraph (a) of § 301.6323(e)-1) required to be made automatically to maintain the contract in force under an agreement entered into before the insuring organization had such actual notice or knowledge, or

(iii) After the satisfaction of a levy pursuant to section 6332(b), unless and until the Internal Revenue Service delivers to the insuring organization a notice (for example, another notice of levy, a letter, etc.) executed after the date of such satisfaction, that the lien exists.

Delivery of the notice described in subdivision (iii) of this subparagraph may be made by any means, including regular mail, and delivery of the notice shall be effective only from the time of actual receipt of the notification by the insuring organization. The provisions of this paragraph are applicable to matured as well as unmatured insurance contracts.

(2) Examples. The provisions of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
On May 1, 1964, the X insurance company issues a life insurance policy to A. On June 1, 1970, a tax assessment is made against A, and on June 2, 1970, a notice of lien with respect to the assessment is filed in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1. On July 1, 1970, without actual notice or knowledge of the tax lien, the X company makes a “policy loan” to A. Under subparagraph (1)(i) of this paragraph, the loan, including interest (in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a) of § 301.6323(e)-1), will have priority over the tax lien because X company did not have actual notice or knowledge of the tax lien at the time the policy loan was made.
Example 2.
On May 1, 1964, B enters into a life insurance contract with the Y insurance company. Under one of the provisions of the contract, in the event a premium is not paid, Y is to advance out of the cash loan value of the policy the amount of an unpaid premium in order to maintain the contract in force. The contract also provides for interest on any advances so made. On June 1, 1971, a tax assessment is made against B, and on June 2, 1971, in accordance with section 6323(f)-1, a notice of lien is filed. On July 1, 1971, B fails to pay the premium due on that date, and Y makes an automatic premium loan to keep the policy in force. At the time the automatic premium loan is made, Y had actual knowledge of the tax lien. Under subparagraph (1)(ii) of this paragraph, the lien is not valid against Y with respect to the advance (and the contractual interest thereon), because the advance was required to be made automatically under an agreement entered into before Y had actual notice or knowledge of the tax lien.
Example 3.
On May 1, 1964, C enters into a life insurance contract with the Z insurance company. On January 4, 1971, an assessment is made against C for $5,000 unpaid income taxes, and on January 11, 1971, in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, a notice of lien is filed. On January 29, 1971, a notice of levy with respect to C's delinquent tax is served on Z company. The amount which C could have had advanced to him from Z company under the contract on the 90th day after service of the notice of levy on Z company is $2,000. The Z company pays $2,000 pursuant to the notice of levy, thereby satisfying the levy upon the contract in accordance with § 6332(b). On February 1, 1973, Z company advances $500 to C, which is the increment in policy loan value since satisfaction of the levy of January 29, 1971. On February 5, 1973, a new notice of levy for the unpaid balance of the delinquent taxes, executed after the first levy was satisfied, is served upon Z company. Because the new notification was not received by Z company until after the policy loan was made, under paragraph (1)(iii) of this paragraph, the tax lien is not valid against Z company with respect to the policy loan (including interest thereon in accordance with paragraph (a) of § 301.6323(e)-1).
Example 4.
On June 1, 1973, a tax assessment is made against D and on June 2, 1973, in accordance with § 301.6323(f)-1, a notice of lien with respect to the assessment is filed. On July 2, 1973, D executes an assignment of his rights, as the insured, under an insurance contract to M bank as security for a loan. M bank holds its security interest subject to the lien because it is not an insurer entitled to protection under section 6323(b)(9) and did not become a holder of the security interest prior to the filing of the notice of lien for purposes of section 6323(a). It is immaterial that a notice of levy had not been served upon the insurer before the assignment to M bank was made.

(j) Effective/applicability date. This section applies to any notice of Federal tax lien filed on or after April 4, 2011.

[T.D. 7429, 41 FR 35501, Aug. 23, 1976, as amended by T.D. 9520, 76 FR 18385, Apr. 4, 2011; 76 FR 24813, May 3, 2011]