Increasing the Utility of Your Federal Tax Lien Lists

Federal tax lien lists are useful for a variety of lead generation purposes. However, far too many firms use these lists for only limited purposes. This article will explore several methods for increasing the utility of those tax lien lists you have.

First, make sure that you are running all tax liens through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. Numerous companies provide this service, just do a Google search to find one. You can also obtain this service through a local direct mail service provider or list broker in your area, if you prefer to do business with local companies.

Not only is NCOA processing required by the US Postal Service, you’ll discover that it also reduces your returned mail volume substantially. Tax liens are, by definition, filed against companies and individuals that owe money to the government. Chances are, they also owe money to other organizations. As such, it is not uncommon for the businesses to close, and individuals to move. It’s simply the nature of the beast. Since tax liens are filed using the last known address, this is what goes into our database. Returned mail volumes of 15% to 30% are not uncommon when doing mailings to tax lien lists that have not been NCOA processed.

Second, if you are doing telemarketing, run the lists through a telephone data hygiene service and/or a phone append service. This will make sure you have the best phone numbers possible for your telemarketing efforts. Our database is connected to a robust phone append API, but that’s just one database. So even if you get phone numbers from us, it may still be worth your while to process them again through another service.

Third, don’t throw away your old tax lien lists. Tax debtors are bombarded by a tidal wave of tax resolution firms during the first two weeks after the tax lien is filed. Then, with the low hanging fruit gone, fewer companies are contacting them. After a few months, nobody is calling or mailing.

Every few months, pull up those old lists, and mail and call them again. For businesses that accrue new liabilities every quarter, they are starting a new collections cycle every 3 months, but a new lien may only be filed once a year. For individuals, the problem doesn’t go away even if it’s not addressed and the IRS isn’t taking enforced collections action at the present time.

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Finally, consider checking tax lien lists against other demographic databases. Your ideal client fits a certain profile (if you don’t know what that profile is, then take the time to uncover it). Based on this, you can use demographic and psychographic data that is commercially available to find tax debtors that most closely match the profile of your perfect client. This is called a “merge/purge” by mailing list brokers (which is exactly what is, after all), and enables you to create a laser-targeted contact list for your marketing campaigns.

Do these additional steps require a financial investment? Absolutely. But they’re all an investment in magnifying the ROI of your overall marketing efforts.