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Enforcing a lien without a judgment??

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Regular Contributor

Enforcing a lien without a judgment??

Received a letter from T.A.C.S. addressed to my current address (moved last year) dated 4/16 demanding payment of vehicle property taxes for a prior year, and said if payment was not made by 10 days, they would sue, garnish, etc. Made payment in full via money order and certified mail last week. Received today a letter, tihs time addressed to my previous address, dated 4/24 (8 calendar days later) which was a copy of a demand they allegedly made to my employer to enforce a lien on the account.

 

I've already made full payment, and have called to confirm that the account had been paid in full .  The rep said another letter was sent 4/25 to say so, but I "just haven't received it yet." They sent a copy of it by email, which now shows a negative $2.52 balance and says they will not credit my payment immediately.

 

Questions are, first, is it legal to attempt enforcing a property tax lien in VA via wage garnishment without a judgment?  I'm finding that it's legal to garnish wages without a judgment for student loans, child support, and income tax liens, but not property tax.  So I'm wondering if the letter was a scare tactic or what.

 

Second, what else do I need to save to make sure no judgments or liens show up on my credit?  I've complied with all of their demands, but they've already shown to be much more shrewd than necessary.  Is this letter showing a negative amount due enough to challenge in the event something shows up?

 

I've been burned before by nasty debt collectors and am trying to do everything within my power to "C-Y-A" as it were, especially with my last negative credit item being almost 5 years old at this point.

Starting score 3/31/15 CK 552/572. Current score 6/23/19 CK 737/737.
FICO TU (Barclay, 6/12) 779; FICO EQ (Citi, 5/28) 698, FICO EX (FCS, 6/23) 765.
Message 1 of 7
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Moderator Emeritus

Re: Enforcing a lien without a judgment??

Property taxes in VA I assume would follow the typical pattern: lien -> garnishment.  Lien / judgement in this case are effectively identical in terms of what they can do.

 

Keep all your documentation, if you paid it before the lien was submitted then it was filed in error at best and I don't know any state where that doesn't get automatically whacked... it's not the consumer's fault when the tax assessors screw up.

 

I don't think you have a problem here but just keep taking notes as you have been in case something goes sideways.




        
Message 2 of 7
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Regular Contributor

Re: Enforcing a lien without a judgment??

They typically just put a "stop" on the registration and you have to pay it before being allowed to register a vehicle again. This was strangely aggressive. And TACS is a collection agency (or as they refer to themselves, "law office"), not government per se.  But I'm keeping everything and preparing for the worst.

Starting score 3/31/15 CK 552/572. Current score 6/23/19 CK 737/737.
FICO TU (Barclay, 6/12) 779; FICO EQ (Citi, 5/28) 698, FICO EX (FCS, 6/23) 765.
Message 3 of 7
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Moderator Emeritus

Re: Enforcing a lien without a judgment??


@Turkeyb0y wrote:

They typically just put a "stop" on the registration and you have to pay it before being allowed to register a vehicle again. This was strangely aggressive. And TACS is a collection agency (or as they refer to themselves, "law office"), not government per se.  But I'm keeping everything and preparing for the worst.


Oh I only saw property tax not vehicle property tax haha.  If they're not government then yeah they'd presumably have to get some official court blessing before taking your money though that costs money to do and since you've already paid, shouldn't be an issue. 

 

In my experience aggressiveness in terms of demand for payment is usually tied to budget considerations: if everything is happy, no problem it'll come to us eventually, if we need money, better pay yo, now!

 

 




        
Message 4 of 7
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Super Contributor

Re: Enforcing a lien without a judgment??


@Turkeyb0y wrote:

Received a letter from T.A.C.S. addressed to my current address (moved last year) dated 4/16 demanding payment of vehicle property taxes for a prior year, and said if payment was not made by 10 days, they would sue, garnish, etc. Made payment in full via money order and certified mail last week. Received today a letter, tihs time addressed to my previous address, dated 4/24 (8 calendar days later) which was a copy of a demand they allegedly made to my employer to enforce a lien on the account.

 

I've already made full payment, and have called to confirm that the account had been paid in full .  The rep said another letter was sent 4/25 to say so, but I "just haven't received it yet." They sent a copy of it by email, which now shows a negative $2.52 balance and says they will not credit my payment immediately.

 

Questions are, first, is it legal to attempt enforcing a property tax lien in VA via wage garnishment without a judgment?  I'm finding that it's legal to garnish wages without a judgment for student loans, child support, and income tax liens, but not property tax.  So I'm wondering if the letter was a scare tactic or what.

 

Second, what else do I need to save to make sure no judgments or liens show up on my credit?  I've complied with all of their demands, but they've already shown to be much more shrewd than necessary.  Is this letter showing a negative amount due enough to challenge in the event something shows up?

 

I've been burned before by nasty debt collectors and am trying to do everything within my power to "C-Y-A" as it were, especially with my last negative credit item being almost 5 years old at this point.


You need to consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction.


Total revolving limits 653000 (575000 reporting)

Message 5 of 7
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Regular Contributor

Re: Enforcing a lien without a judgment??


@SouthJamaica wrote:
You need to consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction.

Well obviously, if there's some egregious problem or if the money actually comes out of my paycheck, but why would I incur the expense of a lawyer at this point if it could in fact be some backhanded version of legal??  I'm not soliciting authentic legal advice on a public forum, rather gleaning from those hopefully more knowledgable than I about collections, liens, etc., especially as they relate to credit reports.  And if it's just a scare tactic by an unscrupulous collection agency, I'm certainly not going to embarrass myself by announcing the situation to my employer, or waste more money buying a lawyer's time over a piddling $150 collection.

Starting score 3/31/15 CK 552/572. Current score 6/23/19 CK 737/737.
FICO TU (Barclay, 6/12) 779; FICO EQ (Citi, 5/28) 698, FICO EX (FCS, 6/23) 765.
Message 6 of 7
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Legendary Contributor

Re: Enforcing a lien without a judgment??

In general, a government can garnish wages without first obtaining a civil judgment.

Private parties, however, require a civil judgment followed by a writ of satisfaction ordering any garnishment.

 

The basis of the tax, be it arrears in private or real property taxes or in income tax, is usually not issue as to need for a civil judgment, it is that the debt is owed to a government.  If in doubt, consult an attorney versed in the statutes/regs of your state.

Message 7 of 7
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