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American Idol recently announced that its 15th season will be its last. Recently, the Internal Revenue Service filed a tax lien for almost $100,000 against season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino. Even though she has had hit R&B albums and performed in Broadway shows, she has suffered recent financial difficulties.

Why does the IRS file a tax lien?

Here are some of the basics you need to know. A tax lien attaches to all current and future assets. Once the agency files the Notice of Federal Tax Lien, you may struggle to obtain credit. Filing for bankruptcy may not discharge the lien.

The IRS website contains more information on understanding tax liens

Rather than enforce the lien, the agency often uses this technique as a prod to force a taxpayer to pay an outstanding tax bill. There are ways to avoid or get rid of a lien.

When you cannot pay your tax bill in full, you can often still avoid a lien by carefully reading IRS letters. When the amount owed is overwhelming, discuss your options with a tax attorney. Negotiating a fair payment plan or presenting an offer in compromise may resolve the situation.

If you receive a notice of an IRS lien against a bank account or property, you can obtain a release by paying the tax bill in full. A subordination or withdrawal may allow you to refinance or sell a property, but will not eliminate the outstanding tax debt. If you question the amount owed, a tax attorney can assist with gathering financial documents and appealing the lien.