How long can you go in California without paying your property taxes before the state can force the sale of your property?
The short answer is five years after the date the property became tax delinquent. As you may know, property owners in California pay their property taxes in two installments. The payment of the first installment is due before December 10 at 5 p.m. The second installment is due before April 10 at 5 p.m. If these due dates fall on a weekend or holiday, the tax is not delinquent until the next business day. If the second installment payment in one year is not paid on time the property becomes tax delinquent. Five years after this date, the state has the power to sell the property at public auction or to a public agency. The property owner must be given notice of the date of sale and has the option of redeeming the property before that date.
To redeem property subject to a tax sale the property owner has to either pay the full delinquent amount, including tax, penalties, fees and interest, or make arrangements with the county to pay the delinquent amount off on an installment plan. You must begin your installment plan within five years from the date the property became tax-defaulted. After five years, your property is subject to the County Tax Collector’s Power to Sell and you are no longer eligible for an installment plan.
The amount to redeem tax-defaulted property in full is the sum of the following:
1. The total amount of unpaid taxes for all delinquent years.
2. A 10% penalty on each unpaid installment.
3. A $10.00 cost on each unpaid second installment.
4. A redemption fee of $15.00.
5. Monthly penalty at a rate of 1.5% on the unpaid tax amount (18% per year).
6. Additional costs, added after five years.
Try to pay your property taxes at all costs. The penalties are too severe and your home is too dear to risk losing it.