The Effect of Late Taxes on Credit Score


When you pay a bill late, there's a chance it will appear on your credit report. A late tax filing won't show up in the same manner, but that doesn't mean it can't hurt your credit score.

Late Payment

  • If you file your taxes late, you may be subject to penalties and interest--but that's between you and the government. The credit reporting bureaus are not notified.

Failure to File

  • If you have taxes due but fail to file, the government will send you a bill as soon as it figures out you owe money. You have 10 days to pay it.

Tax Lien

  • If your tax debt remains unpaid, the government may file a tax lien. The tax lien is a public notice that the government has a claim against your property. The lien becomes part of your credit report.


  • The effect of a tax lien on your credit score will vary according to what else is in your report. However, the Experian credit bureau reported in 2005 that the average credit score of a consumer with a tax lien was 609 (out of 850), compared with 678 for a consumer without one.


  • If you can't pay your balance in full, you can avoid a lien by working with the government to set up an installment plan to pay it off in stages.

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  • Photo Credit Image by, courtesy of woodley wonderworks
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