federal tax lien on all of your assets. The lien can be a secret and exists even if the IRS has failed to file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien in the public records. This secret lien can take your retirement funds to pay a tax debt even after the tax has been discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can discharge some types of tax liability. However, a properly recorded lien generally survives bankruptcy discharge. This is true for recorded tax liens as well as liens that are recorded voluntarily against property of the debtor in bankruptcy. The code specifically provides protection for assets of the bankruptcy estate that the debtor has claimed exempt unless the assets are encumbered by a properly recorded tax lien. However, to qualify for exemption, the property must have actually been part of the estate in the first place.