Behind on Your Property Taxes? What Happens Next

Like wage-earners having to pay federal income tax to help keep the government up and running, property owners must pay property taxes to pay for essential services in their community, such as police, fire, new roads and bridges, etc. If a property owner becomes delinquent on those taxes, the taxing district can take punitive action.

This article will examine what happens when you fall behind on your property taxes in Texas, including if/how/when your property will be sold involuntarily, what you can do if that happens, and how to get assistance if you are behind on your property tax payment. When are you considered late with your property tax payment in Texas?

You are considered late on your property taxes after January 31st of each year or 30 days after the tax bill is mailed.

Here are important dates concerning your property taxes:

  • January 1 - The effective date of valuation. Improvements constructed after January 1 are not taxable in the current year.

  • March / April / May - Appraisal districts send notices of assessed value if they revalue property.

  • May 15th - Deadline to file a property tax appeal.

  • May to September - Appraisal district and appraisal review boards conduct hearings.

  • September / October - Tax entities set tax rates
  • November / December - Tax entities send tax bills.

  • January - Property tax payments are due the later of January 31 or 30 days

after the tax bill is mailed.

What happens if you don’t pay your property taxes on time?

A property tax bill is just like any other loan: if you don’t make your payment on the due date, you are subject to interest and penalties, which can add up quickly.

When you’re late, the county (your creditor) will begin sending you notices that your property tax payment is delinquent and what the financial penalties are for being late. Like any creditor, they’ll correspond with you regularly and request that you contact them to discuss payment.

If you don’t reach out to them after they ask you to, you can expect to continue to receive correspondence in the mail and may begin getting telephone calls from the Tax Assessor’s collection department.

Tarrant County’s official position on delinquent property tax payment is:

  • On February 1, current year taxes become delinquent and will incur penalties and interest.

  • An additional collection penalty will be charged on accounts that are delinquent on April 1 for personal property or July 1 for real property. Mineral accounts are considered real property.

  • Depending on your tax jurisdiction, the collection penalty will be 15 percent or 20 percent of the total taxes, penalties, and interest. After July, interest continues to accrue at 1 percent per month.

  • Taxes not paid by January 31 will increase unless the half payment or a quarterly installment is applied to the account.

  • Half Payments: The first installment must be paid on or before November 30. The second installment must be paid on or before June 30.

  • Installment Payments for Over 65 or Disability Exemption: Due January 31, March 31, May 31, and July 31.

  • Penalty and Interest will be applied to accounts paid after the due date.

When will a tax lien be filed against your property?

When you don’t pay your property taxes, the overdue amount becomes a lien on the property, which makes the property act as collateral for the debt. All states, including Texas, have laws that allow the local government to sell a home and collect delinquent taxes through a tax sales process.

You will also come under pressure from your lender if you have a mortgage. All mortgage contracts stipulate that you must pay your property taxes on time, or you may be subject to foreclosure.

Your lender may advance you funds to pay your delinquent taxes. You will, of course, pay interest and expenses on the amount of tax they pay on your behalf. If you default on that additional money lent you, foreclosure will likely follow.

The county must provide you with advance notice of a sale of your property. This will give you time to pay your delinquent balance, plus interest, penalties, and other charges.

It is up to the county's discretion to select a date for your property to be sold at a public auction. In Tarrant County, auctions are held on the first Tuesday of each month.

How do you redeem your property after a tax sale?

You can redeem your property after a tax sale by paying your delinquent taxes, plus penalties, interest, and charges. The redemption period in Texas, including Tarrant County, is generally two years.

This redemption period applies to residential homestead properties and land designated for agricultural use when the suit was filed. Other types of properties have a 180-day redemption period.

The post-sale redemption period starts when the deed is filed in the county records.

To redeem your home from someone who purchases it at the sale, you'll have to pay the amount the purchaser bid for the property, the amount of the deed recording fee, the amount the purchaser paid for taxes, penalties, interest, and costs on the property. You'll also have to pay a redemption premium of:

  • 25% if you redeem during the first year of the redemption period or

  • 50% if you redeem during the second year of the redemption period. (Tex. Tax Code § 34.21).

Behind on your property taxes?

Talk with David Pannell and Cities Real Estate to find your options for selling your property before the county sells it for you or your lender forecloses on you.

David is a realtor you can trust. He’s been helping families with all types of property sales for over 20 years in DFW, including those with delinquent property taxes. He has served in the United States Marine Corps and as a City of Arlington police officer.

Call David today at (817) 797-9047 and get complete details on your options if you’re late paying your property taxes. He’ll give you unbiased advice and assist you in any way he can.



680 Properties
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Information is deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS or NTREIS. The information being provided is for the consumer's personal, non-commercial use, and may not be reproduced, redistributed or used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Cities Real Estate (Fort Worth) are marked with the NTREIS IDX logo and information about them includes the name of the listing brokerage.

NTREIS data last updated June 19, 2024.

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