Michigan Title Examinations and the 1954 Revenue Code’s New General Lien Provisions

Title examiners, and more particularly their clients, have long suffered from a controversy-limited almost exclusively to Michigan- involving the methods by which the United States Treasury Department could perfect general federal tax liens. The December 1952 issue of the Michigan Law Review carried an article by the present writer pointing up the irreconcilable difference which has existed for a quarter of a century between the type of record notice which the Treasury was willing to provide prospective bona fide purchasers et al., and the quite different and more demanding type which the Michigan Legislature insisted upon if the local offices of record in each county were to be available to the federal authorities. Whereas the Treasury has sought in many cases to file blanket notices, asserting a lien upon all of the property ( undescribed) of a named taxpayer, the Michigan Legislature has been equally adamant in insisting-with reference to liens asserted against land-that offices of record shall be available to the federal authorities only if the notice contains a precise description of the land in question.

The matter of the practicing attorney’s dilemma in dealing with the above conflict was fully covered in the earlier article and will be discussed here only insofar as it is necessary in giving functionalized meaning to two significant events of the past year-the last being the recent adoption of a new lien provision in the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.