//Can Someone Take Your Property by Paying the Taxes in Texas?

Can Someone Take Your Property by Paying the Taxes in Texas?

If you owe delinquent taxes on property in Texas, you might be wondering, “What if someone else paid my property tax bill?” This brings up questions of ownership. Can someone take your property by paying the taxes? In the Lone Star State, the short answer is no – taking ownership of a property is not as simple as just paying someone’s property taxes. However, by not paying property taxes, a property owner is at risk of losing their property, and the threat is serious in Texas because it’s what’s known as a tax deed state. What does that mean? Keep reading to learn more from Tax Ease.

Can Someone Take Your Property by Paying The Taxes

How Paying Someone’s Property Taxes Makes Money

Many investors make money by paying someone’s property taxes through purchasing either a tax lien or a tax deed. These investments are attractive because the government administers them, they typically have high return rates and they can lead to ownership of the property.

Counties need money to pay for local services like police and fire departments, public utilities and schools. Especially in Texas, where there is no state income tax, municipal governments rely on local property taxes for funding. When property owners are not paying property taxes, counties don’t get the money they need and must resort to selling either a tax lien certificate or a tax deed to recoup the loss in income.

Tax Lien Certificates Vs. Tax Deeds

In some states, counties sell tax lien certificates and, in others, tax deeds. Some states are hybrid states that allow both.

Common protest issues that provide property tax help for low-income taxpayers are:

  • Tax lien auction. When investors make a winning bid at a tax lien auction, they purchase a tax lien certificate and pay someone else’s property taxes. They do not get possession of the property. After a certain amount of time, if the property owner still has not paid the property taxes plus interest and any penalties, the investor can foreclose on the property.
  • Tax defaulted auction. At this type of auction, counties have seized the properties and are selling tax deeds to the highest bidder. In this case, the investor is buying the property.

There is a type of tax deed called a redeemable tax deed which is between a tax lien and a tax deed. Only seven states (and one city) sell this kind of tax deed, and Texas is one of them. After a redeemable tax deed sale, the owner can redeem their property by paying the bid amount plus a significant penalty or interest before the redemption period ends.

Delinquent Taxes on Property: Redeemable Tax Deeds in Texas

Although paying someone else’s property taxes in Texas doesn’t potentially lead to ownership of a property, as is the case with a tax lien certificate, a redeemable tax deed is a far more serious situation when you have delinquent taxes on a property. In Texas, the buyer of the tax deed is the legal owner of the property even before the redemption period ends.

This means that while waiting for payment of the penalty and property taxes owed by the previous owner, the new owner can evict anyone on the property – the previous owner only has redemption rights and only within the redemption period, which can range from six months to two years. There is no interest, but the penalty is hefty – 25% of the bid amount in the first year and 50% in the second year.

How to Find Out If Taxes Are Owed on a Property

If you need to know how to find out if taxes are owed on a property, be aware that property taxes are not public record in Texas. Contact each county’s tax office for information on delinquent taxes on properties in the county, how auctions are conducted and what is required for the auction process.

In all of Texas’ 254 counties, auctions are held on the first Tuesday of every month. Smaller counties may not have a monthly auction if there aren’t any property owners with delinquent property taxes severe enough for seizure and sale.

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Get Help Paying Delinquent Taxes on Your Property & Avoid a Tax Auction With Tax Ease

You don’t necessarily need to worry about what happens when someone pays your property taxes in Texas. Paying other people’s property taxes doesn’t grant immediate ownership, but you do need to worry about delinquent real estate taxes that could lead to a tax deed auction.

If you are facing delinquent taxes on your property, let someone else pay your property tax – the tax experts at Tax Ease. With a property tax loan from Tax Ease, we pay your taxes in full, eliminating the stress and worry of unpaid taxes and possible tax auctions. Start by filling out a simple loan application – there’s no fee, credit check or obligation – and relax knowing your property is protected.

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