What Are Delinquent Real Estate Taxes?
Delinquent real estate taxes are essentially the same thing as delinquent property taxes — anyone who owns real property must pay their tax bill when it is due. In Texas, the due date is February 1st for the previous year’s taxes. Failure to pay on time results in delinquency. Texas real estate taxes are notoriously high compared to the rest of the country, with the average effective property tax rate being 1.83% (higher than the national average of 1.08%). However, specific rates differ by county. For example, the average rate in Lipscomb County is 1.27% — not far off from nearby Sedgwick County in Kansas at 1.30%, though that state’s overall average is only 1.40%.
Rather than a county treasurer, it is the tax collector or assessor who sets these rates in Texas. The Comptroller outlines numerous tax notices that are required to be sent out to residents, offering transparency on appraised values and local rates.
How Long Can Property Taxes Be Delinquent?
So, just how long can you go without paying property taxes in Texas? In short, you can’t go long at all. If you miss the February 1st due date, you’ll see the consequences immediately.
What Happens If You Owe Delinquent Property Taxes on Real Estate?
If you owe delinquent property taxes, the following will occur:
- You’ll get hit with a 7% penalty immediately for being late.
- You’ll rack up an additional 2% penalty for each month you’re still delinquent.
- If you haven’t paid by July 1st, you’re charged a huge penalty of over 20% to cover various collection fees, including law associates who may need to prosecute for the county.
- Tax liens will likely be placed on your property.
- The taxing authority can initiate a judicial sale at any time.
- This will either be a tax deed sale or tax lien certificate sale (though the former is more common) in the form of a public auction where your property will be sold to the highest bidder.
How to Buy Property with Delinquent Taxes
If you’re interested in buying real estate on which delinquent taxes are owed, the steps are fairly straightforward, though the specifics differ by county.
- Look up how tax sales are carried out in a specific county. This information is usually available from the county itself or the tax collector.
- Attend the tax deed sale/auction.
- Be ready to pay and become the highest bidder.
Are Delinquent Real Estate Taxes on Property Assumed by Purchaser?
Generally, yes — the delinquent real estate taxes on the property are assumed by the purchaser. That’s because the winning bid must match the total amount of accrued debt, including all penalties and interest. However, if the property’s market value is lower than that amount, this could also be considered an acceptable bid.