Explaining the Differences between Tax Liens and Mechanic’s Liens in Florida

If a property is being foreclosed, it means that the owner has failed to keep up with repaying debt. In some cases, owners might be indebted to many different actors, including the government and contractors. A lien is a right for another person or legal entity to own property until its owner succeeds in repaying their outstanding debts.

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between tax and mechanic’s liens in Florida.

Key Differences

Without further ado, let’s explore the main difference between the two types of liens in more detail:

Cause of Lien

Tax liens are placed on properties by the government due to unpaid property taxes. Property taxes in Florida are paid to the local governments, and they’re based on the market value of the property, which is determined by Florida’s property appraisers. Mechanic’s liens are a result of unpaid construction or remodeling services.

Entities Involved

While tax liens are held against properties by the IRS, mechanic’s liens in Florida can be filed by contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment lessors, and laborers, as well as architects, engineers, surveyors, and other design professionals.


Tax liens serve to secure unpaid taxes owed to the government, while mechanic’s liens ensure that individuals or entities involved in property improvements are compensated for their work.

The Order of Payment

In some states in the U.S., the tax lien always has priority. In Florida, mechanic’s liens take precedence over any claims against the property that were not officially recorded before the attachment of the mechanic’s lien to the property. However, if a lien was recorded before the date the mechanic’s lien became attached to the property, it holds a higher priority than the subsequent mechanic’s lien.

Florida law establishes a hierarchy among mechanic’s liens. The order of priority for mechanic’s liens is as follows: laborers get paid before all other claimants except the general contractor. The general contractor is usually paid last.

In cases where the available funds are insufficient to cover all the liens on the property, the liens are paid in order of priority or proportionally by class before any liens in the next class are settled.

A Guide to Mechanic’s Liens in Florida

It’s important to know the proper laws that regulate filing mechanic’s liens. Unlicensed contractors, for example, can’t file this type of lien. A Florida mechanic’s lien must be submitted within 90 days of whichever of the following occurs first: the final date the claimant provided labor or materials for the project or the end date of the original contract. Also, according to Florida law, all mechanic’s liens must be notarized.

If you’re planning to buy a property in Florida, it’s important that you know the different types of liens that exist. If you need help determining whether the property you’re planning to buy has liens attached to it or deciding whether a lien placed on the property is legal, Florida Lien Search can help. Contact us today for a consultation!