Paying your property taxes is part of being a homeowner. Municipalities and governments collect these taxes to fund the services they provide to residents in their communities. These services include schools, police and fire services, libraries, or utilities.
Because local governments need property tax funds to meet their annual budgets, they don’t mess around when a homeowner doesn’t pay their taxes. A government can charge you interest and impose penalties. In extreme cases, the home of a nonpaying citizen can be sold at a tax auction, which is similar to a foreclosure. Municipalities sell your home so they can recoup the lost revenue from your unpaid taxes.
A property tax lien has priority over all other liens that may be on your home, meaning the lien has to be paid before the home can be sold. Like all liens, unpaid property taxes are a cloud on your title, and a buyer cannot get a clean title until this and other liens are paid.
If you receive notice that your home is being sold at tax auction, Laywers.com recommends contacting an attorney as soon as possible.