County of Marin - News Releases - Federal Documentation

For Immediate Release
October 10, 2019

IRS Policy Change Affects Local Recordings

Counties such as Marin push back on decrease in federal reimbursements

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Recorder’s Office is notifying its customers about a new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policy that could lead to service issues for counties all over California.

A closeup view of the sign outside the door of Suite 232 that says County RecorderWalk-in recordings can be completed at the Marin County Civic Center.
In late September, the IRS said it is lowering fees it pays to counties for handling federal tax lien documentation as of October 1. The County of Marin is among those rejecting the fee adjustment, citing California law and the right to recover fees for handling federal documentation.

The Recorder’s Office maintains permanent public records of documents related to the ownership and claims on property in Marin. Documents presented for recording must meet statutory recording requirements and are subject to applicable fees and taxes.

County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk Shelly Scott received the IRS letter from its Centralized Lien Operation office in Ohio about federal government’s intent to lower filing fees for four types of notices: a federal tax lien; a certificate of release; a revocation of erroneous release; and a withdrawal of notice of a federal tax lien. Typically, the fees affect personnel from title companies and lenders, who pass costs onto residents buying or selling property or paying off a federal tax lien to clear a credit history.

“As with any documents received without proper recording fees, we will return documents to the IRS, unrecorded, with a cover letter notifying them of the shortage,” Scott said. “We are contacting title companies and e-recording partners about this.”

As of October 4, Scott said the IRS has not reimbursed her office for 1,912 documents that date to January 1, 2018. At $10 each, that amounts to $19,120 owed to Marin.

“Since August 22, 2018, we have mailed numerous letters to the IRS staff members and have had numerous telephone conversations with them to try and rectify this,” Scott said.

In its letter to 58 Recorder offices in counties statewide, the IRS said it intends to only pay a portion of the costs of recording lien-related documents. Scott said recording fees are set by state law and local ordinance.

Residents who would like to record a release of tax lien in the meantime can contact an IRS field office in Oakland or San Francisco who may be able to assist them by providing them with a copy of the lien release. A list of field offices is on

Walk-in recordings can be completed at the Recorder’s Office in Suite 232 of the Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. Same-day recording hours are 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. weekdays. Mailed documents for recording should be sent to Marin County Recorder, P.O. Box C, San Rafael, CA 94913. Many questions are answered on the Recorder’s website or by calling 415-473-6092.


Shelly Scott
Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk
County of Marin

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 208
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7215
Email: Shelly Scott