SOLVE YOUR DELINQUENT PROPERTY TAX PROBLEM
Published by Authorify Publishing Copyright © 2019 Authorify Publishing
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Table Of Contents
1. What Is “Property Tax?” 2 2. What To Know About Property Liens 6 3. What Happens When You Don’t Pay Your Property Taxes 16 4. Understanding And Solving Your Property Tax Debt Or Delinquent Property Taxes 28 5. Dealing With Property Tax Delinquency 36 6. Selling Your Home With A Lien 52 7. Tips For Selling Your Home Due To Delinquent Taxes 64 8. Tax Nightmares 82 9. Programs For Delinquent Property Tax Homeowners 88
10. Foreclosing Homes And Property Taxes
When I first ventured into the real estate industry years ago, I did so with the hopes of helping sellers like you avoid the headaches often associated with the home-selling process. In my years of experience, not only have I helped alleviate the stress of selling for numerous clients, but I’ve also accumulated years of knowledge to help them get more money for their homes in the least amount of time. I decided to share all of my expertise in one place with potential clients. And that’s why you’re receiving this book. I want to help you have the best possible home-selling experience. And by that, I mean I want you to 1. Get the most money possible for your home, 2. Sell in the least amount of time, and 3. Avoid the headaches most commonly associated with the home-selling process. Think of this book as my gift to you. It contains insider advice on the home-selling process to help you achieve your ultimate real estate goals, including: • Secret strategies to sell your home for more money • Marketing techniques employed by top agents • Advice on how to appeal to today’s buyers • And much, much more If, after reading through it, you want to hire me to help you sell your home, I’d be more than happy to meet with you to discuss a specific plan to sell your home. Happy reading!
AGENT was raised in CITY with X siblings. As a child, AGENT had aspirations of being a OCCUPATION. Never in a million years did he think he’d stumble into the real estate industry, but you can’t always predict where or when you’ll discover what you’re meant to do in life. AGENT was taught at a young age that if you want something in life, you have to work for it. So that’s what he did. And he worked hard. As the years went by, AGENT worked his way from FIRST JOB to LATER JOB, never wavering in his resolve to become the best version of himself with each career move. AGENT got into the real estate industry X years ago when STORY ABOUT HOW YOU GOT INTO REAL ESTATE/WHY. He set out to LIST ASPIRATIONS FROM WHEN YOU STARTED OUT IN REAL ESTATE. As his career advanced, AGENT found his stride working with NICHE MARKET/SPECIFIC MARKET AREA/TYPE. He’s an expert in LIST AREAS OF EXPERTISE/SKILLS THAT SET YOU APART FROM OTHER AGENTS.
Throughout his career, AGENT has earned numerous accolades, including:
• LIST ACCOMPLISHMENTS • LIST SALES STATS ix
• ANY OTHER IMPRESSIVE INFO YOU’D LIKE TO INCLUDE
AGENT aims to provide the highest level of service to his clients and takes deep pride in helping them achieve their real estate goals. AGENT aims to provide the highest level of service to his clients and takes deep pride in helping them achieve their real estate goals.
Testimonials & Reviews for Agent Name
Here’s a list of people whom I have helped buy or sell a home, and what they said about working with me:
Agent-Name had a tough job, but she did it!
We were tough clients! We were moving to City and didn’t have a lot of time to look at houses, having to deal with our employer’s relocation, and all of the other challenges that came along. But, Agent-Name went above and beyond to help us. Even now, one year after the sale closed, I can still call her for business and service recommendations in the area — she knows just about everyone, and is very happy to help.
Agent-Name is the best agent in City!
I’ve used Agent-Name twice so far, and I was impressed both times. I bought my dream home with AGENT a year ago. She worked long and hard to find me the perfect home. And she just recently sold another property of mine. Everything went quickly and smoothly. Both of my real estate deals were done very quickly and professionally. Agent is honestly the BEST in her business. I would highly recommend her.
Agent-Name perseverance got me the house
My experience with Agent-Name during the entire home- buying process, from start to finish, has been nothing short of exceptional. I have a unique work structure, and because of this, it was very difficult to find mortgage lenders that would approve me for a home. I was very frustrated and on the verge of giving up, but Agent-Name insisted that we continue searching. Not only did we find a mortgage lender but also a mortgage that I felt great about. His perseverance is the reason I am now a homeowner. He is professional, punctual, knowledgeable, and very easy to work with. With the highest regard, I will recommend Agent-Name to all my friends and family.
Very attentive to concerns, details, and negotiations
Agent-Name helped me find a house by literally picking it out for me. Every house I wanted to go to, I got there and didn’t love it. Agent-Name was busy taking note of the likes and dislikes I was stating and said “I have a house that you’re going to love”.... AND I DID! I went back 4 or 5 times to show other members of my family, and she accommodated me without complaint. I was a first-time homebuyer, and she walked me through the steps of everything, gave me advice, and constantly followed up to make sure I was doing OK. With her help, I was able to close on the house early, right before I started my new job. I would recommend Agent-Name to EVERYONE, buying or selling. Agent-Name made it so so easy. She guided us through the entire process. She recommended great people to work with
every step of the way. She was available 24/7 to answer any questions we may have had. With her high standards, expertise in the industry, and patience, we would recommend her as a Realtor to anyone looking! She was amazing!
Agent-Name even advised me on how to prepare my house
Agent-Name was a gem. In addition to being highly knowledgeable about the real estate market, with many years of experience, he is a consummate professional. He was extremely easy to work with, gave me very good advice about preparing my house for sale and was very responsive during the entire process of receiving offers, selling and closing. I would work with him again in a heartbeat. He’s that good.
Agent-Name is the first agent I would call
Agent-Name and his team were able to rapidly list, show and sell my property. Being an expert in real estate, he was spot on in his pricing of my property and getting this deal completed. Overall, I highly recommend him and his team. If I want to buy real estate, AGENT would be the first person I’d call.
Agent-Name got us an offer in three days!
Agent-Name was the consummate professional during our stressful and difficult process. In the midst of juggling a ‘failed’ marketing effort with another agent, she presented a
well thought out plan and strategy to sell our home in short order. We needed to move quickly due to a growing family and another baby on the way. She helped alleviate that pressure by securing an acceptable offer with 3 days of listing. We put pressure on her, and she delivered. We couldn’t thank her enough.
Agent-Name kept us calm throughout the process!
Agent-Name always made herself available to answer questions. She worked hard to sell our home and find the best fit for our new home. She and her team worked with us through the entire process and kept us calm when we got anxious.
I am 100 percent satisfied!!
Agent-Name is professional and knowledgeable about everything. She is also always available. I would definitely recommend her to anyone. Very smooth transaction from start to finish. I felt confident with her experience.
Agent-Name found us our dream home
Agent-Name was very efficient and helped us find our dream home within a few short months. She was able to negotiate the price that we wanted for the house. Overall, I would look for her again to help us look for a house if need be in the future. Thank you so much!
Efficient communication and service
Agent-Name and his staff were very helpful in selling our condo. They kept me informed frequently with email, sending reports on showings, offers, and feedback from potential buyers. We are very satisfied.
Agent-Name will get your house sold fast!
Agent-Name is great and has the expertise to get your house sold. The communications throughout our sale (from beginning to end) has been outstanding. Agent-Name understands the stress involved in selling your house, and she updated our family consistently! This made us feel we were in good hands. I have worked with numerous agents, and I highly recommend her to represent you when it comes time to sell your home.
Excellent experience topped with a personal touch
Excellent experience all around, not only knowledgeable but Agent-Name and team have a very personal touch I felt like family throughout the entire process. He always took his time; we never felt rushed or like “just a number.” I sold my home and bought with him. We had lots of questions he gladly answered them with no problem and guided us through the entire process, eliminating lots of stress. I truly appreciate that and would recommend him and his team to family and friends.
CHAPTER 1 What Is “Property Tax?” A property tax is a tax levied by local or municipal governments on real estate. In legalese, a property tax is an ad valorem tax, which means it’s a tax based on the market value of a property or transaction. For example, a sales tax is an ad valorem tax, as it’s based on the value of the car you just bought, or the new couch, or a gallon of gasoline, and so on. A property tax is also an ad valorem tax, but differs from a sales tax collected once at the time of sale in that it is collected on the value of the property each year. That is the topic of this book— problems that homeowners run into regarding the ad valorem tax known as your “real property tax.” There are four broad types of property taxes: 1) tax on land; 2) tax on improvements to land (e.g., man-made structures, such as buildings); 3) tax on personal property (movable man-made objects, such as an annual personal property tax on the value of your automobile, as in Kentucky); 4) and intangible property tax. Real property, also called real estate or realty, is the combination of land and improvements and is the property tax with which we are concerned here.
A property tax is differentiated from a “rent tax,” which is a tax based on rental income or imputed rent (what the property should be earning in rental income), and a land value tax, which is a tax levied on land value, excluding buildings and other improvements. A homeowner’s property tax is generally calculated based on the value of the property, including the land, dwelling, and other structures. Jurisdictions vary in their property tax approaches. Real property is often taxed based on its class, with property in different classes taxed at different rates. Property classes include residential, commercial, industrial, and vacant real property. What’s its purpose? Property taxes support local education, police/ fire protection, local governments, some free medical services, and most other local infrastructure. Tax assessors calculate the tax based on the current market value of the property. The amount of a homeowner’s property tax is determined by multiplying the relevant jurisdiction’s property tax rate by the current market value of the property, which is periodically recalculated by municipalities. Property tax rates and the kinds of property taxes collected differ significantly from state to state and locality to locality. Rates vary across the states, between approximately 0% and 4% of the property value (land and structures). The
assessment is made up of the improvement or building value and the land or site value.
Home buyers should become familiar with the property tax structure, rates, and procedures applicable in the region in which they intend to purchase a home. Once the taxes are assessed, the decision of the municipality has a binding effect on the property owners. The payment schedule pertaining to the property taxes differ from region to region. It’s important that property taxes are paid on time and property owners know the implications of defaulting on the taxes, what penalties delinquent taxes will invite, and how to redeem the property on which delinquent taxes are owed. All of this is covered in the rest of this book.
CHAPTER 2 What to Know About Property Liens
It’s not exactly the official legal definition; however, in practical terms, a “property lien” is an unpaid debt that could squelch your home sale. Among the most common conditions that disrupt a real estate transaction is a “lien.” In general, a lien is a legal notice that is filed in the county court in which the property is located securing an unpaid debt with a “hold” against the property. If a creditor wants to get your close attention and/or to secure the payment of the debt, it may take legal action by placing a lien on your biggest asset—your home. In real estate, liens are more common than most buyers and sellers realize. A lien can result from unpaid taxes (federal income or county/municipal property), a court judgment, or unpaid bills (e.g., utility services). Liens attach to your property and give the lien holder a security interest in that property until the debt is discharged. There are limitations regarding what you can do with a lien when one is placed on your property—for example, take out a second mortgage, sell, or refinance your property until the lien is paid off and removed by a subsequent court filing.
In signing your mortgage loan documents, you gave a “volunteer lien” to your mortgage provider. Although you own your home and hold the title as owner, the mortgagor has a security interest in the value of your home up to the amount you owe on your mortgage. A voluntary lien is a claim that one person has over the property of another as security for the payment of a debt. An action taken by the debtor, like a mortgage loan to buy real estate, can create a voluntarily lien. This type of lien is contractual or consensual. Other common examples of voluntary liens involve car loans in which the lien is noted on the title. • Non-consensual Liens. A non-consensual lien is involuntarily granted to a creditor (from the debtor’s perspective) to secure a debt owed. This type of lien comes into play after a debtor has failed to pay an unsecured obligation. Non-consensual liens are divided into statutory and judicial liens. • Attachment Lien. An attachment lien attaches to a person’s real or personal property to prevent disposal of it during a lawsuit. The plaintiff must show that the defendant likely will dispose of the property. If the court agrees, the court will issue a writ of attachment to the sheriff, directing the sheriff to seize the property. Attachments of real property should be recorded. Should the plaintiff win the suit, the court issues a writ of execution, directing the sheriff to sell the property to satisfy the judgment.
• Judgment Liens. A judgment lien may issue when a plaintiff wins a judgment in court if an attachment lien hasn’t already been issued. Like the attachment lien, it provides a method by which the defendant’s property may be seized and sold. • Child Support Liens. This type of lien is placed on your property if you owe a great deal in child support. The custodial parent may file a lien with the office where the property is recorded. For example, a lien on a house would be filed with the county recorder in the county where the house is located. The lien remains until the child is no longer entitled to support and all the arrears are paid, or until the custodial parent agrees to remove the lien. Although some states require the custodial parent obtain a judgment for the arrears before putting a lien on property, most states allow liens to be imposed on property when you miss court-ordered support payments. To check the lien requirements in your state, visit the Office of Child Support Enforcement website at www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse • Property Tax Liens. A property tax lien is placed by the government on unpaid taxes, income, or property tax. Property taxes are prioritized over any of the property’s mortgages or liens. Once the government assesses a tax, the amount due constitutes a lien on the owner’s property, whether real or personal. Some property is exempt from the tax lien by federal law. This includes trade books and tools, unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation, judgments for support of minor children, minimum amounts of
wages and salary, personal effects, furniture, fuel, and provisions are all exempt. Local governments also can assess liens against real estate for failure to pay real estate taxes. After some period, the real estate may be sold to satisfy the tax amounts owing. • Internal Revenue Service Liens. A federal tax lien is the U.S. government’s legal claim against your property when you neglect or fail to pay a tax debt. The lien protects the government’s interest in all your property, including real estate, personal property, and financial assets. A federal tax lien exists after the IRS puts your balance due on the books (assesses your liability), sends you a bill that explains how much you owe (Notice and Demand for Payment), and you neglect or refuse to fully pay the debt in time. The IRS usually utilizes this lien if you’re unemployed, self- employed, or sporadically unemployed and the IRS would have trouble attaching your income. • Mechanic’s Liens. A common non-consensual lien on real estate is the “mechanic’s lien,” which can be obtained by one who furnishes labor, services, or materials to improve real estate. Mechanic’s liens are statutory, and the statute must be carefully followed. An automobile mechanic couldn’t obtain a mechanic’s lien on a customer’s house to secure payment of work he did on her car. To qualify for a mechanic’s lien, the claimant must file a sworn statement describing the work done, the contract made, and the materials furnished that permanently improved the real estate. • Family Law Real Property Lien. In a matrimonial action suit brought forth in the State of California, for
example, a spouse may file a lien against his or her interest in commonly held real estate to secure payment of attorney fees accrued in the action. The lien affects only the filing spouse’s interest in the property. Please check your individual state and municipal laws or a local attorney for guidance. • Condominium Association Liens. Condominium liens are strong tools granted by statute to condominium associations to ensure unit owners pay their assessments for common expenses in a timely manner. They vary by state. Consult with a local attorney for more information.
HOW A LIEN AFFECTS YOUR PROPERTY
A seller needs a clear title to undertake a property transaction, including sale and financing. A lien charged to your home makes the title unclear. While under contract for sale, the title company will perform a search for liens that may have been filed against the property. Where a lien is discovered, the transaction is put on hold. A lender will not finance a property until the lien is satisfied, or paid off, which is the seller’s responsibility. In most cases, the seller will act swiftly to resolve the debt. However, the seller could refuse to pay or contest the lien. If this happens, the sale will await a definitive outcome.
The buyer has two options if a seller refuses to pay the lien.
The refusal can be viewed as a breach of contract; this allows the buyer to cancel the sale without losing the earnest money deposit. Or, the buyer can accept financial responsibility for any liens to move the transaction along. In a cash transaction, the buyer and the seller are free to come to a resolution on their own terms.
HOW CREDITORS COLLECT ON LIENS
A lien holder doesn’t obtain any ownership or hold the property title. However, a lien holder is granted certain rights regarding the property—namely, a share in the sales proceeds if the loan isn’t paid off and the property is sold. Lien holders generally can’t place themselves on to the title to obtain ownership. The main right of a lien holder is to have priorities from the proceeds of a sale if there is a default on payments or a foreclosure. In practice, only in rare circumstances do creditors demand the sale or foreclosure of property to pay off a lien. If a property is mortgaged, the creditor-lien holder, on enforcing foreclosure, must stay on schedule with mortgage repayment. Creditors favor waiting for the property to sell.
WHAT TO DO IF A LIEN IS FILED ON YOUR PROPERTY
In the event a seller first discovers a lien filed on owned property when preparing to sell the home, the first step is to determine if the lien genuinely belongs to him. Lien holds are searched by owner name. Sometimes multiple matches
will return from a search. Relatives who share similar names or those with unusually common names (e.g., Smith or Jones) might find themselves asked about liens they didn’t incur. In this case, according to Realtor.com, you should work with your real estate agent and title company to determine what proof is needed to clear the issue. Generally, all it takes is something as simple as a verification of your birth date or home address. If, however, you’re the seller and the lien is appropriately on your property, work to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Contact the lien holder and arrange how to pay it off. Often, the repayment will come out of the proceeds of the sale of the house. For particularly complicated liens, you might seek legal counsel. There are various actions you can take if a lien is placed on your property, which are determined by how much you owe and specific laws in your area. If there is a federal tax lien on your home, you must satisfy the lien before you can sell or refinance your home. There are several options to satisfy the tax lien. According to IRS.gov, if you have equity in your property, the tax lien is paid (in part or in whole, depending on the equity) out of the sales proceeds at the time of closing. If the home is being sold for less than the lien amount, the taxpayer can request the IRS discharge the lien to allow for
the completion of the sale. Taxpayers or lenders also can ask that a federal tax lien be made secondary to the lending institution’s lien to allow for the refinancing or restructuring of a mortgage. The IRS currently is working to speed requests for discharge or mortgage restructuring to assist taxpayers during this economic downturn. To assist struggling taxpayers, according to IRS.gov, the IRS plans to significantly increase the dollar thresholds when liens are generally filed. The new dollar amount is in keeping with inflationary changes since the number was last revised. Currently, liens are automatically filed at certain dollar levels for people with past-due balances. The IRS plans to review the results and impact of the lien threshold change in about a year (around late 2018). Also, the IRS is making other fundamental changes to liens in cases in which taxpayers enter into a Direct Debit Installment Agreement (DDIA), according to IRS.gov. Additionally, the IRS will modify procedures that will make it easier for taxpayers to obtain lien withdrawals. Liens will now be withdrawn once full payment of taxes is made if the taxpayer requests it. A tax levy will be issued when the federal government seriously considers the tax lien. This will grant the government the authority to satisfy the debt by seizing property. During this process, you could also lose wages and personal property, such as vehicles, to satisfy the debt.
In some instances, the IRS will let other creditors take their debts before the IRS as they may also make a compromise that permits the taxpayer to make small payments on the debt until it is paid off.
CAN A CREDITOR PUT A LIEN ON MY HOUSE?
Property liens placed by creditors are known as judgment liens. A creditor needs to have a valid court judgment to request and obtain a judgment lien. The court judgment is obtained when a creditor sues a debtor and wins. A certificate of judgment is awarded to the creditor by the court. The creditor officially records the lien by filing with the land records office in whichever county the consumer’s home is located.
IS THERE A LIEN AGAINST A PROPERTY I OWN?
One way to find out if there is a lien against a property you own is simply to search online court records. An alternative option is to ask a property agent to find out on your behalf. Another alternative will cost you a little money, but you might save a great deal of time. If you have a mortgage on your home, call the bank. They can inform you about any encumbrances they have recorded—apart from the loan you owe them. The world of liens is a complex and high-risk one that should be carefully navigated with a real estate agent’s help or help from a financial advisor.
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