The city mails Roger his property tax bill on July 1.
But what if Roger can’t pay the whole tax bill by the end of the year?
In February, the city mails Roger a final bill. He owes $750 plus monthly interest charged by the city.
But suppose the sewer backs up into his basement, and Roger has to pay the emergency plumber instead.
By mid-May, Roger still can’t pay, so the city auctions his tax debt to investors at the annual tax sale.
Investors buy Roger’s debt, called a “tax certificate,” and begin charging 12% annual interest.
To save his property, he has to pay the investor the $750, plus accrued interest and attorneys’ fees.
Roger still can’t pay by July 1, and another year of property taxes are added to his bill.
Nine months after they buy Roger’s debt, the investors can file a lawsuit to foreclose on his property.
To stop from losing his house, Roger has to pay the full amount he owes to the investors.
If Roger can’t scrape the money together, he will lose his house and all of its equity to the investors.