B-208277 September 7, 1982

B-208277: Sep 7, 1982

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The Comptroller General may not release property from a Federal lien if the lien is a tax lien. Or if the request for release is not accompanied by an affirmative report from the officer who administers the laws under which the Federal lien arose. Gillis: Reference is made to your letter of June 29. Our authority to release liens that are in favor of the United States is contained in 28 U.S.C. Duly recorded in the jurisdiction in which the property is located. To have the same extinguished if after appropriate investigation. The Comptroller General has the authority to issue a certificate of release of liens of the United States only if all of the conditions expressed in the statute above are fulfilled.

B-208277 September 7, 1982

Comptroller General may not release property from a Federal tax lien at the request of a senior lienholder. Under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2410(e), the Comptroller General may not release property from a Federal lien if the lien is a tax lien, or if the request for release is not accompanied by an affirmative report from the officer who administers the laws under which the Federal lien arose.

Attorneys

James M. Gillis, Esq. Litchfield, Macpherson, Carstens and Gillis, Attorneys at Law 423 North Coast Highway P.O. Box 1270 Newport, Oregon 97365

Dear Mr. Gillis:

Reference is made to your letter of June 29, 1982, requesting on behalf of your client, the Oregon Willamette Lumber Company, that Federal tax liens on a tract of land located in Lot 12, Section 11, Township 10 South, Range 10 West, Willamette Meridian, in Lincoln County, Oregon be extinguished because the proceeds of a judicial sale would be inadequate to pay the lien. For the reasons stated below, we cannot grant your request.

As recognized in your letter, our authority to release liens that are in favor of the United States is contained in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2410(e) which provides as follows:

"(e) Whenever any person has a lien upon any real or personal property, duly recorded in the jurisdiction in which the property is located, and a junior lien, other than a tax lien, in favor of the United States attaches to such property, such person may make a written request to the officer charged with the administration of the laws in respect of which the lien of the United States arises, to have the same extinguished if after appropriate investigation, it appears to such officer that the proceeds from the sale of the property would be insufficient to wholly or partly satisfy the lien of the United States, or that the claim of the United States has been satisfied or by lapse of time or otherwise has become unenforceable, such officer shall so report to the Comptroller General who may issue a certificate releasing the property from such lien." (Emphasis Added.)

The Comptroller General has the authority to issue a certificate of release of liens of the United States only if all of the conditions expressed in the statute above are fulfilled. See B-178601, June 4, 1973; B-173705, September 2, 1971.

Assuming, as you did in your letter, that the assignment of a real estate contract for security purposes is a "lien" within the meaning of section 2410(e), the Federal tax lien in the present case cannot be extinguished for two reasons. First, the Federal lien in question is a tax lien, which by the express terms of the statute is not subject to the release procedure. Second, even if a tax lien were not involved, the Comptroller General cannot release the lien without an affirmative report from the officer who administers the laws under which the Federal lien arose.

Consequently, we must deny your request.

Sincerely yours,

Robert H. Hunter Assistant General Counsel