Q: I had a federal tax lien filed against me. When it was filed, my credit score plummeted to 500.

Now that I have satisfied the lien, will my credit score go back up to where it was before the lien was filed?

A: The good news is that eventually your credit score will go up. The bad news is that it will take some time.

Most negative information stays on your credit history for 7 years, although a bankruptcy stays on for 10 years. But while the information is there, it will affect your score less and less as the years go on.

What can you do to help? You can help rebuild your credit score by paying all of your bills on time and in full. Don’t carry credit card debt, and if you do, be sure not to carry a debt that is more than 30 percent of your maximum available credit. Don’t open up too many new lines of credit and don’t close old lines of credit that you’ve had for years — those give your score a boost in the right direction.

For more details on raising your credit score, check out www.myfico.com.

Jan. 17, 2007.