Thursday, June 08, 2006

Property Tax Payment Due June 15

This year my wife and I won't forget to ask each other whether one of us paid the first half property taxes! Judith and I did forget one year, and to our chagrin learned that the penalty is 10% of the payment amount, several hundred dollars in our case. There's interest on the unpaid amount, too.

Most people have their property taxes paid from their lender's escrow account, so no worries. But if you don't have an escrow, you have to remember to pay that first half tax bill with a check mailed by midnight next Thursday, June 15. (They don't have to receive it, just have it postmarked by then.)

If over the years you have built up a substantial equity in your property and there is still in place an escrow for taxes and insurance, consider asking your lender to excuse you from it. Assuming you are a good money manager, pay these bills yourself when they are due. Otherwise you are simply making your lender an interest-free loan of more than enough money to cover these expenses!

If you closed a purchase or sale this year it is likely that the taxes were paid for the year at that time. There would have been a proration between buyer and seller. Don't forget to write off your share when you do your taxes next year.

Don't bother with the options of paying by direct debit, or credit card. They charge 3%, more than the cost of just buying airline miles, if that's your motivation.

These and other FAQ's are on the MUNI's web site at this location.

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