Avoid Property Tax Penalties 

Property tax dates and regulations change for each state and at times within each state by county. It is important you check with local government websites or officials to ensure that you understand the nuances of your area and important due dates. Below are some general items to be aware of when considering your property tax liability.  

The name on the tax roll and tax bill

  • For example, in California, the assessment roll from which tax bills are prepared is required by law to list the assessee as of January 1 of that year and property is assessed to the owner as of that date. Therefore, deeds recorded after January 1 would not reflect a change of ownership on the tax rolls until the following year. 

Property tax bills mailing

  • For example, in Cook County Illinois (where Chicago is located), property taxes are mailed twice a year, once for each installment. However, in most other parts of Illinois, there is one property tax bill mailed each year that includes both installments in it.  

Due dates 

  • For example, in Massachusetts, property taxes are due quarterly in many counties. By contrast, much of California has only two due dates for property taxes. It is also important to note if your property tax bill was sent late, as that may allow you to be a candidate for an extension.  

Failure to receive a tax bill 

  • More often than not, a failure to receive the tax bill does not relieve the owner from the liability to pay taxes, nor does it relieve the imposition of penalties. Reach out to the proper authorities to ascertain your tax liability and rectify the situation as necessary.  

Supplemental or additional property taxes 

  • Supplemental property taxes don’t always occur, however if they do, they can happen for a number of reasons. For example, in California, the property being purchased will be reassessed upon the change of ownership. The reassessment will generally be in the form of an increase in taxes based on the new property value.  

If you require additional information or have questions regarding your property taxes, please contact the Tax Collector’s office of the county in which the property is located. 

This article is part of the Home Buyer Guide.