Tax Sale Property Assistance
If your home is at risk for becoming a tax sale property, you’ve received a Notice of Taking, or just know you’re dealing with delinquent property taxes, you are in jeopardy of losing your home. In Massachusetts, you have a small window of up to 6 months to repay all delinquent property taxes and execute your “Right of Redemption.” This window may be shorter if the property is abandoned or if the back taxes owed are greater than the property’s current assessed value.
Depending on how deeply in debt you are, this can feel like an overwhelming feat, especially since you’ll also be required to pay interest and court costs. When you fall behind on property taxes, you would typically only have two options available to you:
1. Appeal Property Tax Assessment.
Since property taxes are a percentage of your home’s assessment, you can appeal the assessed value of your home. All states offer some options to dispute the value, but there are often limitations to when and how you can do so. For instance, you may be required to file an appeal within a certain timeframe (usually shortly after you receive the property tax bill) and/or may need to pay the full tax first and await a refund. You’ll need to carefully review the procedures, documents, and other pieces of evidence you’ll need to start the appeal process and may need to enlist the help of legal counsel.
2. Tax Abatement, Deferral, or Repayment.
Every state has a tax abatement (also known as tax reduction) or even tax exemption program that applies to certain homeowners. Most often, people are eligible based on age, the presence of a disability, or, in some cases, income levels. Abatement can often be denied, though, if you’re already behind on tax payments. In these cases, you might be eligible for a deferral (postponing the tax payment date, again based on eligibility criteria) or a repayment plan. With the restricted eligibility requirements for each state program, it can quickly feel like you’re out of options.
Property tax help can come in many forms, though. You may not be restricted to working within your state or county resources. A great option for many people to avoid their home becoming a tax sale property is to locate an investor who is willing to pay for the delinquent property taxes. Often, a cash investor will be able to compensate you for much higher than the unpaid taxes owed, and help you avoid additional financial burdens or watching your home becoming a tax sale property to be sold at auction. In many cases, you can make enough to pay off your taxes and still have some left over!
It’s an option worth considering. After all, if a tax sale were to occur, you’ll not only lose your home, but end up in tax foreclosure, risking damage to your credit for years to come.