Are you prepared to pay your summer property taxes?

Homeowners who are responsible for paying their property taxes have a bill due soon.

For Michigan residents who own their homes, summer tax bills were mailed out in July and are due to be paid by Sept. 14, 2017. This happens annually, but for homeowners who pay their taxes independently, saving for this expense can be a challenge. Since it is an annual bill, it can quickly sneak up if families aren’t following a spending plan to allow for bigger expenses. Planning for big expenses takes practice and discipline.

If you are unable to pay your taxes, there are options available to help, so don’t ignore the bill if funds are short. Non-payment of your tax bill results in fees and interest being added on to the original amount. The amounts charged are set under the General Property Tax Law.

Here are some options that may be available to residents experiencing financial hardship in paying their property taxes:

  1. Under some circumstances, you may qualify for a deferment of taxes. If you are a senior citizen, disabled person, veteran, surviving spouse of a veteran or farmer, you might qualify to defer the summer taxes until the winter taxes become due with no penalty. Check the website to see if you qualify.
  2. If your earnings or income are below the poverty rate, you may qualify for a poverty exemption which is applied for in the county of residence. This exemption must be applied for annually.
  3. Set up a monthly payment plan with the local county treasurer. This will usually involve making an initial payment and then setting up a payment plan. Please note that there will still be fees and interest charged and included in the monthly payment.
  4. Pay the balance owed in full, even if it is late. Though there will be some added charges, it is still to the property owner’s advantage to pay that bill as soon as possible.
  5. If you are experiencing a financial hardship that prevents payment of the taxes, Step Forward Michigan may be able to assist. Since 2010, Step Forward has been able help thousands of homeowners experiencing financial hardship get caught up and stay in their homes.

Above all else, don’t ignore this bill. Though there won’t be immediate consequences for non-payment, continued delinquency can result in the loss of your home to foreclosure. If you need assistance in understanding the options, contact the county treasurer or a HUD housing counselor who can help explain the process and direct you to area resources.

Michigan State University Extension offers financial literacy and homeownership workshops throughout the year to help you become financially healthy. For more information of classes in your area, go to either http://msue.anr.msu.edu/events or www.mimoneyhealth.org. Additionally, you can take the Financial Health Survey at MI Money Health to access if you’re financially healthy and discover more ways you can improve your financial health.

Michigan State University Extension has released a new toolkit for homeowners who are experiencing or have previously experienced foreclosure. This toolkit will equip these individuals and families with tools to help them recover their financial stability, in the case that a recovery of their home is not possible. The toolkit is available to download free at MIMoneyHealth.org.

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