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Is there a statute of limitations for deliquent property taxes in Texas?

Houston, TX |

Hello my brother got a letter that he owes 5 years of property taxes, is there a statute of limitation? Do they need to sue him to collect this debt? What can happen can he be arrested?

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Attorney answers 4


For your situation, there is no limitation for back property taxes, because the tax authority can seek collection at any time, to get everything paid currently to date, including interest.
The tax authority may seek this, by filing a lawsuit to collect taxes, which are then collected by selling the real property at a tax sale, on foreclosure day, to raise funds to pay the judgment that results from a lawsuit.
The usual remedy without a foreclosure, is to have an installment agreement to pay off taxes, or possibly file a chapter 13 bankruptcy, if appropriate to make the installment payments, if you want to keep the property.

Land owners are not subject to arrest, for this type of debt.

General legal advice is offered for educational purposes only. A consultation with a qualified attorney is required to determine specific legal advice as to your situation and applicable law. We are a debt relief agency and we help people file for relief under the bankruptcy laws.


Given that the state or county can take title to property for which taxes are owed, any limitation period on taxes would have a concomitant ability to simply foreclose on the property and take it for re-sale.

At least with lingering cumulative taxes, you can consider it economically as a rising option to buy it back, at least giving the taxpayer a choice.

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Curt Harrington
Certified Tax Specialist -- State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
Electrical-Chemical-Mechanical Patent (Intellectual Property) Attorney
(562) 594-9784
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Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.


We don't jail people for owing money in this country. (Though money owed for child support can be close.)

The taxing authority will need to sue him, so this won't happen all at once. As others have said, a chapter 13 bankruptcy filing will help, IF your brother has steady income.

I'm not your attorney; my answer to your question includes assumptions. If you want me to be your attorney, I'm easy to find.


The statute of limitations for collecting delinquent property taxes on real estate is 20 years. Yes, the taxing authorities will have to file a lawsuit to enforce collection. It is not wise to let it get to that point, because it can add substantial additional court costs on top of the tax debt. If your brother wants to avoid his real property being sold for taxes, he should contact the taxing authorities ASAP to work out a pay-out plan. And no, they won't agree to take less than what is owed. Ever.

Providing this answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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