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Real property

property tax lien

A property tax lien is a lien or claim for money due to a federal, state, or local government for unpaid and delinquent taxes. For example, the federal government may place a lien on a homeowner’s home or other real property for unpaid federal income taxes, and state and local governments (often counties) may place a lien on real property for unpaid income or property taxes.

The federal, state, or local government entity—also known as a taxing authority—may seek to recover payment for unpaid taxes by forcing the sale of the property on which the lien is placed in the foreclosure process—a process in which the validity of the lien and satisfaction (payment) for the lien is litigated or determined in court.

In Texas, a property tax lien represents a legal claim against a property by a governmental entity for unpaid property taxes. When property taxes are not paid, the taxing authority, which is typically the county in which the property is located, has the right to place a lien on the property. This lien has priority over most other liens or claims on the property, meaning it must be paid first if the property is sold or foreclosed upon. If the taxes remain unpaid, the taxing authority can initiate a foreclosure process to recover the owed taxes. This process involves a lawsuit where the court will determine the validity of the lien and the amount due. If the court rules in favor of the taxing authority, the property can be sold at a tax foreclosure auction to satisfy the debt. The Texas Property Tax Code governs the imposition and enforcement of property tax liens, while federal tax liens for unpaid income taxes are governed by federal law and can also result in the forced sale of property to satisfy the tax debt.

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