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Practical issues: tax lien + motorcycle

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  • Practical issues: tax lien + motorcycle

    Hello all: I have an occupant coming up on 2 months late; I've started the ball rolling with the legalities. There is a federal tax lien and there is a motorcycle in the unit.

    I'm glad there's a tax lien. A federal tax lien automatically attaches to all of the person's property, so it applies to the motorcycle. The motorcycle is 20 years old, so I doubt there's still a lien with a financing company, though I'm waiting for the DMV's response on that.

    I would like to have someone from the IRS come and take the motorcycle away so I can be done with it, but here's where I have a practical concern:

    There's obviously no key to the motorcycle in the unit. I would expect to have to go the nearest Harley Davidson dealer to have them order or make a key, but since I'm not on the registration (which expired 2 years ago anyway,) I'm guessing they'd refuse to give me a key, regardless what I bring in as proof that I have such authority.

    I have a handy DMV guide on selling vehicles in a storage auction, but there's no mention of a key. There is a DMV form that accompanies the bill of sale that identifies the new owner in lieu of a title, but here's the other thing: to sell a car you need an odometer statement-->to get an odometer statement you need the key-->to get the key you need a bill of sale (maybe)-->to get the bill of sale you also need an odometer reading (huh?)

    I suppose I could call the dealership and ask them how I might go about doing this, but I don't expect cooperation from them, plus, today is Sunday. I might just have the police haul it off as an abandoned vehicle; and I might contact my auctioneer, though he's out-of-state. And I know the law on this differs by state and you might not be able to give me accurate advice--

    But has anyone here dealt with this or other often-overlooked practicalities of dealing with a vehicle in lien stage, or with property that has a 3rd-party lien?

  • #2
    Wow, that's complicated as all get out. Unfortunately I can't help you but I will watch this thread because I'm curious. Your lease doesn't say what you do for vehicles?
    90% of what you're stressing about now won't even be relevant in a year. Breathe easy. ~Wesley Snipes

    WA State


    • #3
      I wouldn't be surprised if the person left a key hidden someplace on or around the bike


      • #4
        Call a towing company you use and have it hauled off and let them deal with it. You said a Harley? What model and what year, if you know? If I like what you have I will come get it, if close enough, and take it off your hands. I still have Harley friends that know how to get rid of them, so to speak. LOL!
        "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"


        • #5
          Regarding the rental agreement, it says occupant shall not store a vehicle without a vehicle addendum, which details other terms of vehicle storage. Not sure how I could make them leave us a key if they do have a vehicle. This particular occupant started renting before I came on and the previous mgr was all fast and loose, didn't seem to care what was in the units.

          I've had a couple other people store motorcycles without written permission. I look on the bright side with this, figuring they are much less likely to go delinquent if they know they will lose the bike. This particular bike is a '98 FLST (not sure what the FL stands for.)--sorry, pacnwstorage, I'm on the other side of the continent. It looks in decent condition, but there's the additional possibility that it is junk and the guy put it in there knowing he'd stop making rent payments. If a guy hasn't paid his taxes in 5 years, there's a good chance he's going downhill financially in general and that could be the case, except in addition to the motorcycle, there's a LOT of VERY good furniture, and if he wanted he could pay his storage bill, sell the furniture himself and keep a profit.

          I think I can relocate the motorcycle to a 5x10 unit, which I have plenty of right now, and at least it becomes a less urgent issue. However, there's a quirk with the tax lien. I already sent the IRS a letter with a sale date, which by law needs to be at least 30 days out. Normally with calling a tow company, I'd send the occupant a certified letter giving him 10 days to remove an abandoned vehicle (as required by law,) but since I sent the notice, I think I have to leave the bike here, unless of course he comes along and pays.


          • #6
            If I remember correctly that is a Harley Softtail Fatboy with the 16" tires front and rear. What we used to call fat tires. Most other bikes have a taller/skinnier tire at the front. This bike may be stolen. Depending on the condition it could be worth some money. The softtail frame is worth some money and the engine is worth money. It likely has solid front and rear wheels instead of spokes. The bike would have to be in very bad shape to not be worth some money. I used to own the 1996 version of the same bike and I had a 1990 version, the first year they came out with the Fatboy bike.
            "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"


            • #7
              The reg was in the handlebar bag and matched the occupant, and the local pd already ran the plates. Thanks for the info on it! Hopefully the IRS thinks it's worth money, too. I think the blue book value was about $4k.


              • #8
                When selling vehicles that have broken odometers, don't turn on, etc. don't the sellers just check a box on the bill of sale stating odometer reading unknown? Or something to that effect? Depending on how long it's been sitting, the battery is probably shot anyhow. Does the lien law in your state actually require that you do the necessary repairs to make the vehicle operable enough to get an odometer reading?

                I've never dealt with a 3rd party lien. Keep us updated. I'm curious to see what happens.
                A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.


                • #9
                  Aha, I think I've figured it out. We're in the (sort of) fortunate situation of having a few 5x10 units that I don't expect to be rented until May, when college students start renting. Since the motorcycle is the most valuable thing in the unit, I will offer to allow him to move the motorcycle to a 5x10 unit and hold off on selling it or removing it until April--with the acknowledgment that we still are still enforcing the lien on the motorcycle, so he won't have access until the balance for the larger unit is paid off, and he leaves us the key. It is to his advantage because a) he doesn't lose the motorcycle and b) if down the road we do sell the bike, he will get more money for it.


                  • #10
                    Will you also be charging him for the seperate storage in the 5x10 unit? I would be because you are doing him a big favor. Your call of course.
                    "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"


                    • #11
                      I was thinking that I would offer not to charge rent in the smaller unit until the larger was vacant. Essentially, as long as his stuff is here, he's renting from us; when the larger unit is sold off, we still have his motorcycle, and I would charge for that instead of the larger unit. This would only give him "free" rent in the smaller unit for a month.

                      I don't know what other people's experiences are, but anytime someone's in financial difficulty and I try to work with them, they usually sit on any offer until the property is discarded anyway. It could be a matter of pride, or maybe if they're bad with payments, they're also bad with coming to the office to discuss a payment plan or something.


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