WARREN - State Rep. Tom Letson says the $37,416 debt he owed the Internal Revenue Service is paid in full, but there's no proof showing a lien the IRS placed on his property has been released.
The Democrat said he made a final $5,000 payment in September 2011 and has been waiting ''patiently at times, impatiently at times'' for the IRS to remove the claim on his property.
A lien automatically arises when a person fails to pay taxes owed within 10 days after the IRS sends a first notice of taxes owed and demand for payment. A notice of federal tax lien, filed in Ohio county recorder's offices, publicly notifies creditors that the IRS has a claim against all of that person's property.
The tax lien notice on Letson was filed in December 2010 in the Trumbull County Recorder's Office, but there's nothing to show the IRS has released the lien.
Letson said he's contacted the IRS several times about the matter but hasn't gotten any action. ''They tell me everything has been taken care of, everything has been paid,'' he said.
IRS spokeswoman Jennifer Jenkins declined to comment. Federal disclosure law precludes IRS employees from discussing or the agency's interaction with individual taxpayers.
According to the IRS, it will release a person's tax lien 30 days after the person has paid the debt.
A ''release'' means the IRS has cleared the lien for the debt and the public notice of federal tax lien. It's done by filing with the county recorder's office a certificate of release, according to the IRS.
Letson said the debt was related to the care of his parents. In charge of paying the caretaking bills, he said he moved money from stocks to pay for the care, but didn't hold enough aside to pay the taxes.
''I thought it was (enough money). It was not. That's my fault,'' Letson said.
Letson, of Warren, is seeking his fourth and last term in the Ohio House. He is being challenged by Republican Randy Law, also of Warren.