'Tis the Season for Property Taxes

'Tis the season for holiday gatherings, Christmas shopping, and - unfortunately - property taxes. While it's safe to assume that no one looks forward to paying their property taxes, keeping up with these payments is absolutely essential. Arrowhead Title, Inc. is here to help you understand your property taxes and what happens if you fail to pay them.

What Is Personal Property Tax?
Personal property tax is a tax that is levied against tangible property that you owned at some point during the tax year. Examples of tangible property include houses, land, additional properties, boats, waverunners, cars, trucks, RVs, and motorcycles. Exactly where and how your tax dollars will be used may vary slightly by state and county, but generally recipients may include:
  • Local road districts
  • The local library
  • The State
  • The County
  • The local fire district
  • The local schools
  • Local senior citizens

What Happens If I Don't Pay My Personal Property Tax?
Tax payments must be postmarked by December 31st. If your payment is late, you may be charged late fees and other financial penalties (like interest) in addition to the original tax amount assessed. The longer you wait to pay your taxes, the greater the balance you owe to the local government will become. At a certain point, you will be labeled "delinquent," and the government may begin taking steps to assure they receive the funds owed to them.

What Are Tax Liens?
Instituting a tax lien is often the first action the government will take to pursue payment for the funds owed to them. When a tax lien is placed on a deed, it ensures that the property may not be sold until after the taxes are paid and the lien has been removed. This applies to vehicles as well as homes, but for our purposes, we are going to focus specifically on tax liens that are levied against homes and real estate.

Though tax liens are not the only types of liens that may be placed on a title, they are often given priority. A home with a tax lien may not be sold until after the lien has been satisfied. This creates a cloud on your title, which makes it difficult to attract quality buyers. 

What Is A Tax Sale?
If you remain delinquent on your property taxes for long enough, your local taxing authority may institute a tax sale to ensure they receive the funds owed to them. Similar to a foreclosure, a tax sale forces the sale of a property so that the government can take the funds owed out of the purchase price.

In some cases, your taxing authority may choose to sell the lien instead of pursuing a tax sale. When this happens, the purchasing party pays the delinquent taxes and then begins pursuing you directly for the funds owed on the lien. If you fail to satisfy the lien, at a certain point they may file a petition with the local Court to foreclose on your property. Ultimately, then, you may still be at risk for losing your home even if the government opts to sell the lien instead of instituting a tax sale.

Pay Your Property Taxes!
Tax attorneys are available to assist people who fall behind on their property taxes, but our title insurance agency at the Lake of the Ozarks encourages you to pay your property taxes in full and on time. Paying your taxes on time will save you a great deal of time and money, and it will allow you to sell your home whenever you choose. For more information about tax liens and the impact they may have on your home, contact our title company in Camden County MO by calling (573) 302-1950.


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