Real Estate Tax Assessments – How to protect your home

January 3, 2020
Real Estate Tax Assessments – How to protect your home

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

December isn’t just for holidays, it’s also for property taxes, especially real estate taxes.  County tax appraisers are supposed to re-appraise all real estate within their county each year, then the tax collector sends a bill based upon the tax rate and the value of your real estate.  It is very common to see real estate property taxes increase a small amount each year, and most property owners understand a small tax increase.

Tax Appraisals in Jackson County

However, in 2019, Jackson County property owners got a huge and not-so-nice surprise when they got their tax appraisals and tax bills.  Because most parcels of real estate had not been re-appraised in the past several years, most Jackson County property owners saw a huge jump in their appraised values and consequently a huge increase in their tax bills.

Recently one of our employees here at W M Law heard from a family member that her real estate property tax bill increased from roughly $4,000 last year to nearly $7,000 this year!  Ouch!  Of course, that family member appealed the new tax appraisal, but there is a high likelihood that her taxes will still go up substantially, and then next year continue to go up.

So, other than appealing a county property tax appraisal, what else can you do to protect your home?  What happens if you don’t have that extra $3,000 like the family member discussed above?  Will the county take your home if you don’t pay the real estate taxes?  The short answer is “yes”.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you don’t pay your real estate taxes, the county has the power to foreclose on your real estate via a tax sale.  You do have some redemption rights, but you certainly can lose your home over unpaid real estate taxes.  Fortunately, you can forestall a tax foreclosure using Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  That doesn’t mean the tax debt will go away, but we can certainly protect your real estate from a tax foreclosure and give you several options for dealing with those taxes.  If you find yourself in a predicament with past-due real estate taxes, don’t hesitate to give us a call or come in for a free consultation to discuss your options.