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Deliquent/Unfiled Tax Return

Many taxpayers get behind in filing tax returns and make the mistake of never filing. Individuals and organizations that have not filed several years of tax returns should not assume that years are subject to a filing requirement. This is very different from the legal requirement to file a tax return. We have outlined a practical approach to determining what must be filed to bring your filing status current.

The state government requirements vary from state to state. A check with the state of residence will indicate if any actions are necessary. Often a state tax lien will appear on a credit report. Many states are contracting out the collection efforts.

Delinquent Property Taxes (Delinquent Taxes)

Unpaid property taxes from prior years are called delinquent taxes. Taxes on personal property become delinquent whenever any installment is not paid on or before the due. The tax collector will send a notice of delinquency showing the total amount due, including interest when any tax payment is not made.


When the tax becomes delinquent and no payment is made in response to the delinquency notice, the tax collector must prepare, serve, and record a warrant. A copy is served on you either by certified mail, publication in a newspaper, or personal service. Immediately after the warrant is served, if the delinquent taxes, interest, penalties, and costs are not paid, the warrant is recorded with the county clerk.

Lien on real property

Recording a warrant causes a lien upon your real property. The tax collector may charge the delinquent personal property tax against a specific property you own. After three years' delinquency, the county can foreclose for delinquent taxes on real property.

 Seizure and Sale

The tax collector can seize and sell the assessed property owned or controlled by the person assessed. When the tax collector takes possession of the property, the owner or person having the property, and all security lien holders, are notified. The seized property is advertised for sale and the notice of time and place of the sale is posted at least 10 days before the sale. If you do not pay before the time set for the sale, the tax collector will sell the property at public auction.