What to Do If You Get Sued by the Texas County Tax Collector
Are you dealing with a lawsuit from your local tax collector due to unpaid property taxes in Texas? We understand this can be quite overwhelming due to the serious consequences that can come from a lawsuit against you–including the possibility of losing your home. Fortunately, there are a few options that can help you get back on track. Keep reading to learn what you should do if you get sued by the Texas County Tax Collector and how you can save your property.
Not paying your property taxes in Texas can lead to a lawsuit from the county as they begin to process your home for foreclosure. According to Texas law, on July 1st, the Tax Collector can initiate lawsuits to collect delinquent amounts. The Tax Collector may also charge an extra 15-20% collections fee on your bill which continues to apply to the additional interest that gets added each month. While there is no way to predict when a taxpayer will be sued, it is important to handle your property tax bill before it’s too late.
Stay Calm, But Act Fast
You may have already received a notice from an attorney to warn you that the tax collector will be filing a lawsuit to collect your property taxes. Although this can be stressful, this does not mean you are going to lose your property just yet. Instead, this notice is used to inform the property owner that a lawsuit will be filed against them soon if they do not act. This will give the property owner a little time to find a solution to pay their delinquent property taxes before the cost of legal action is included on top of everything else.
Respond to the Lawsuit Immediately
Once you receive the official lawsuit, the first thing you will want to do is immediately file a written response to the lawsuit in court records. By doing this, you will slow down the process of legal action and receive notice of all actions in the suit, giving you more time to pay off your delinquent property taxes. If you fail to respond, you can speed up the process, and the lawsuit proceeds much faster. It is important to note that when you file a response, it will not stop a lawsuit. You could still lose the suit and your property could still be sold at an auction if you do not pay your taxes.
Pay Your Property Tax Debt and Legal Costs As Soon As Possible
Whether you file a response to the lawsuit or not, you are still responsible for paying all legal costs up to this point. Property tax lawsuits include district court fees, abstract fees, and attorney fees that are added on top of your already existing delinquent property taxes. These fees can quickly add up; however, the property owner can stop accruing any additional costs by paying their delinquent bill as soon as possible. In addition to halting the accruing costs, you will also save your property from being seized and auctioned off.
Know Your Options
For this type of lawsuit, there are very few options that can be executed. For instance, if you decide to hire an attorney to represent you in the lawsuit, there is very little they can do once you are delinquent on your property taxes. If you are looking to settle the lawsuit by compromise, property tax lawsuits are not eligible to be settled for a less than outstanding amount. However, there are a few options that can help you depending on your eligibility:
- It may be worthwhile contacting your local taxing entity to find out if a payment plan is an option. It is important to note that some law firms do not offer payment plans, while others do. In this case, usually, the taxpayer will have to come up with at least 25% of the amount due to get on a payment plan.
- A property tax deferral is another option for those over 65 if the property is their homestead. A deferment allows a property owner to stop paying taxes until they are no longer living in their house. The property owner must apply and be approved by their local Tax Assessor’s office to get a deferment.
- Another option is to get a property tax loan with a trusted, state-licensed lender. Most property tax lenders do not require any down payment and will create a payment plan based on the individual’s needs. A property tax loan can even save you money by helping you avoid costly fees associated with unpaid delinquent property taxes.
The Johnson & Starr Team Is a Trusted Licensed Lender
Don’t lose your property over delinquent property taxes. With a Johnson & Starr property tax loan, you can settle your tax debt immediately and may even put a stop to foreclosure. We will pay your residential property tax bill in full and create a repayment plan based on your priorities. Contact us today to learn more.