Real Estate Tax Payments
Unpaid Real Property Taxes
The Office of the City Attorney frequently receives inquiries from concerned citizens regarding collection of real estate tax payments such as "why aren't you collecting taxes from my landlord?" and "why are my taxes still showing as unpaid?" Unpaid real property taxes can also be a hindrance on the sale or purchase of a property. The following is a simplified summary of the City's real property tax collection process.
Citizens can view the historical real estate tax assessments and payments for any real property or parcel within the City limits online through the Treasurer's website. However, real estate taxes showing as unpaid for more than a year may be misleading.
Michigan law provides that, any real estate tax payment not received by February 28 following the year in which the taxes are due, become delinquent. All delinquent taxes are no longer collected by the City, but instead are turned over to the Ingham County Treasurer for collection. Any delinquent tax payment made after February 28 must be made directly to the Ingham County Treasurer.
Once the Ingham County Treasurer's office receives the delinquent tax information, the City is no longer involved in the tax collection process. The Ingham County Treasurer sends statutory notices to the property owner of record. If the property taxes remain unpaid, the property may be subject to property tax foreclosure or tax reversion. The process now takes approximately two years from the date the taxes are returned as delinquent (sent from the City Treasurer to the Ingham County Treasurer) and if not paid in full at the end of the period, the property may be sold at a public auction. More detailed information on the entire process can be found on Michigan Department of Treasury's website under Real Property Tax Forfeiture and Foreclosure.
When checking the tax records on a particular parcel, if you see an unpaid tax bill, you should verify its most current status with the Ingham County Treasurer and remember that avoiding payment of real estate property taxes may result in forfeiture of your property.
The Office of the City Attorney's purpose is to serve the citizens of the City of Lansing by protecting and defending the legal interests of the City. The City Attorney cannot provide legal advice to the general public. If you have a question as to how to proceed with any legal matter, please consult a private attorney.
The Office of the City Attorney is prohibited from providing legal advice to individual citizens. Information obtained here is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. Please consult a private attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.