The three credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) will no longer report tax liens and civil judgments without certain identifying information. From now on, a tax lien or civil judgment must contain a consumer’s date of birth and Social Security number before they can be listed on a credit report. Fortunately, most tax liens and civil judgments do not contain this information.
In addition to these new credit reporting rules, the bureaus will also wait 180 days before including medical debt on reports. This is the result of a settlement between 31 attorneys general and the three credit reporting agencies.
The changes to tax liens and civil judgments took effect on July 1st. However, changes to how medical debt is reported will not go into effect until September 1st.
Can I Receive a Free Copy of My Credit Report?
Depending on your financial circumstances, this could be good news for your credit rating. If you want to check your credit score from the three credit bureaus at no cost, the process is not difficult.
- The first step is to visit www.annualcreditreport.com. This website is operated by the three credit reporting agencies. You can pull a free credit report from this website once per year.
- Select the credit reports you want. You can choose whether you want a report from Experian only or all three agencies. In this case, you will want to choose all three agencies.
- Grab as much identifying information as possible. Former addresses, purchases and phone numbers. You will also need your Social Security number. The website is going to ask you questions about this information (it does this to prevent identity theft). If you get any of these questions wrong, you will have to finish the process over the phone.
If you have a prior copy of your credit report that lists a tax lien, civil judgment or both, you can make comparisons with the new report provided by annualcreditreport.com. If these marks are no longer listed, it could mean you are one of the many who had this information removed. To contest any information on your report, you may send a dispute letter to one or more of the credit reporting agencies.