Types of Tax Liens
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Generally, the right to take someone else's property if they fail to meet an obligation. The lien can be created as a result of an agreement between the parties ("I'll pay you to fix my car") or involuntarily as the result of a statute ("People who don't pay their taxes can have their property seized").
Liens come in many flavors.
1 Artisan's lien
2 Carrier's lien
3 Equitable lien
4 Factor's lien
5 Floating lien
6 Landlord's lien
7 Mechanic's or garageman's lien
8 Tax lien
9 Warehouseman's lien
Analogous to a warehouseman's lien. A carrier has the right to dispose of goods given to it for transportation if the consignor fails to pay transportation or related fees. See UCC section 7-307. The perils of being a carrier in this situation are illustrated in Ellis Parker Butler's classic poke at bureaucracy, Pigs is Pigs (http://www.ellisparkerbutler.info/epb/pigsispigs_html.asp).
A floating lien allows a debtor to use a changing pool of goods as security for a loan. The lien covers not only inventory that existed when the loan was originally made, but also property acquired or created by the debtor after the loan was made, such as changing inventories of raw materials, finished manufactured goods, unfinished work in progress, and so on. See UCC section 9-108.
Mechanic's or garageman's lien
The operator of a storage facility has the right to retain property until all charges related to its storage are paid. See sections 7-209 and 7-210 of the Uniform Commercial Code, and Flagg Bros., Inc., v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149 (1978).