The statute of limitations for an IRS lien is typically 10 years as of 2015, but the collection period can extend beyond the 10-year limit if an installment agreement is in place to extend the statute of limitations up to the 89th day after the installment agreement expires, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Generally, the federal government has only 10 years to collect tax liability.
The IRS can also extend the 10-year statute of limitations if a release of levy accompanies the debtor's tax agreement, explains the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Additional causes for an extension of the statute of limitations include situations in which the debtor's assets are in custody or control of a court, the taxpayer is out of a U.S. territory for at least six consecutive months or if an issuance of a statutory notice of deficiency occurs.
An extension for a debtor to pay estate tax can also extend the 10-year statute of limitations as well as wrongful seizure or liens on the debtor's property, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Taxpayers who file bankruptcy that triggers an automatic stay of tax payments may be subject to an extension of the 10-year statute of limitations.