Published on: December 28, 2020 Last modified: January 14, 2021

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Property Taxes on Time (Paying Late Property Taxes Guide)

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    Paying late property taxes — whether because you could not afford to do so, did not want to, or simply forgot — can be a costly mistake. Income taxes are due each year, and we must pay real estate taxes as well. A late payment can result in fines and penalties that only add to the amounts due, and those extra sums certainly add up. You have options if you do need to make a late payment, however, and you may even be able to set up a payment plan. This guide will walk you through what the process looks like, what you can do to fix late taxes, and how to avoid such pitfalls in the future.
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    When Property Taxes are Due

    Real estate taxes are ad valorem taxes, meaning they are taxes on your property’s assessed value. The more valuable your real estate, the higher your property tax bill. You typically pay this bill annually, but may be able to make quarterly payments if you need to spread out the sum that’s coming due.

    Property taxes may cover different governmental and local services, depending on where you live. Your local government decides what to do with collected revenue, but may use it for:

    Your property tax dollars feed directly into your community, which might make the feelings you have about paying them less heavy. Taxing your real property means your local government can fund and run many of the services you rely on every day.
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    What Happens When You are Late on Your Property Taxes?

    Your local government relies heavily on collecting real property tax, meaning someone who does not pay their tax bill could negatively impact its ability to provide necessary services. Your tax collector may thus assess fines and penalties for any real property tax that is passed the due date.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    This is a slow and methodical process, however. You will receive multiple notices about what is happening and that you have passed your tax due date. During that time, you may be able to enter into a payment plan with your local tax collector or simply pay your outstanding real estate taxes in full. It’s important to get unpaid property taxes resolved, though. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be able to seize your home to cover your bulls if you are severely delinquent in paying your real property taxes or if you owe back taxes. Speak with a trusted tax law professional to help you set up affordable payment plans.
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    Late Property Taxes FAQs

    You may have many questions about your real estate tax bill and any late payments you may have made. It’s best to speak with a respected tax law advisor right away to get clear advice on your specific situation, but here are a few answers to some common late property tax queries:

    No. Failing to receive a real property bill will not provide extra time to make payments.

    Your local tax collector may assess penalties if you have not paid your property taxes on time. It will not waive these penalties without a fight. The penalties may be reduced or waived with a tax advisor guiding you, but this will not happen on its own.
    Given the current economic climate, your local office of tax collector may be able to provide you with hardship payment options. Do not take this as a given, though: Any negotiated plan will still include penalties and late fees.
    Absolutely. If you think your real property assessment is too high, you can appeal it with your local office of tax collector. You will want to speak with a trusted tax advisor first to make sure you have an advocate who can help you navigate the appeal process.
    No. You can only appeal the current assessment for your real property value. The office of tax collector will review yours periodically, at least every three years. If you think the assessment is too high upon receiving a new value, you need to begin the appeal process right away.

    Each piece of real property is unique and your neighbor's property may be less valuable than yours. There are countless reasons why those real estate assessments might be different, so that alone is not enough to appeal. It can be useful if your property is substantially similar to theirs and your assessments still vary greatly, however.

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    Partner with a Tax Law Expert for Help with Property Taxes

    People are often under the mistaken belief that a property tax bill is set in stone, but everything is negotiable under the right circumstances. Challenging your assessment means your tax law advisor may be able to help you reduce your tax debt and real estate taxes over the long-term, plus help you negotiate a fair and affordable payment plan to get caught up on your late property tax bills.

    Paying real estate property tax is something everyone who owns property must do. If you cannot afford to pay yours or if you have missed payments, contact Silver Tax Group today to speak with an experienced tax law advisor who can answer all of your questions and help you negotiate a fair payment plan.

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