A Lawsuit will be “Very Expensive” for Delinquent Taxpayer

by Mr. Tracy A. Pounders, Attorney and Counselor at Law on February 6, 2017

Pounders Law: North Texas Property Tax Solutions (214) 628-4357Elizabeth from Dallas asked me the following question: “If a lawsuit is filed to collect delinquent property taxes, who pays for it and how much does it cost?”  The short answer to this is that the delinquent taxpayer pays the costs associated with a lawsuit to collect a delinquent tax, and it is quite expensive.

Filing a law suit to collect a delinquent tax is an expensive and time consuming act.  This law firm will generally not file a law suit to collect a tax unless prior efforts to collect the unpaid tax have been unsuccessful.  If a law suit is filed, however, the costs of that lawsuit are not paid by the local government but by the delinquent taxpayer.  Texas Property Tax Code §33.49 provides, in part, that: “… a taxing unit is not liable in a suit to collect taxes for court costs, including any fees for service of process, an attorney ad litem, arbitration, or mediation, and may not be required to post security for costs. ***”  So even though the taxing unit files the lawsuit, these costs are instead collected from the delinquent taxpayer.

The costs of a lawsuit vary, but some of the typical activities relating to a lawsuit and an estimate of the associated costs are:

 

ACTIVITY

ASSOCIATED COST

(ESTIMATE ONLY – VARIES BY COUNTY)

  • Title Abstract
$250-$350 per tract to identify persons with “interest” in property
  • Basic Filing Fee (District Court)
$150-$175
  • Service of Citation (original or alias)
$55-$75 per defendant, per attempt (amount varies if defendant is out of county/state)
  • Substituted Service TRCP 106 or 109
$55-$75 per defendant, per attempt (amount varies if defendant is out of county/state)
  • Citation by Posting
$55-$75 per defendant (amount varies if defendant is out of county/state)
  • Citation by Publication
$Cost varies, generally $400-$500 total
  • Intervention
$25 per claim
  • Mediation Cost
~$500 per side/half day (cost varies most cases  are ordered to mediation prior to trial)
  • Ad-Litem Attorney Research Costs/Fees
$Cost varies per Court Order (based on number of defendants Ad-Litem represents — $350-$750)
  • Motion for New Trial
$150-$175 for the party requesting
  • Abstract of Judgment (Clerk’s Fee)
$8-$10
  • Recording of Abstract of Judgment
$8-$10 per page
  • Order of Sale
$8-$10 per request other associated cost varies
  • Notice of Sale Published by Sheriff
~$300 per property
  • Writ of Execution
~$300 per request
  • Sheriff’s Fee/Commission
Determined by Sheriff’s Department
  • Miscellaneous Motion
~$25

 

Each lawsuit is different and not all lawsuits will incur all of these costs.  The following are some  lawsuit scenarios and an estimate of the total associated costs:

 

  • One Defendant, one citation, one tract of land, Abstract of Judgment and recording of Abstract w/Title Abstract

~$625

  • One Defendant, two citations, one tract of land, Abstract of Judgment and recording of Abstract w/Title Abstract

~$685

  • One Defendant, one tract of land, two citations, cite by posting, Ad-litem Attorney Fees, Abstract of Judgment and recording of Abstract w/Title Abstract

~$1,500

  • One Defendant, two tracts of land, two citations, cite by publication, Ad-litem Attorney Fees Abstract of Judgment and recording of Abstract w/Title Abstract

~$2,300

 

These are estimates only, but as you can see, different lawsuits will have different total costs and each scenario is very expensive.  It’s better to pay the delinquent taxes BEFORE a lawsuit is filed and save the money for other things.  Nonetheless, if a lawsuit is filed against you to collect a delinquent tax, please consult a competent lawyer of your choice.  This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for good legal counsel.  Your lawyer will be able to advise you of your legal rights and obligations and provide you with an estimate of the costs you will be responsible for in the lawsuit.

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Don’t forget to file your rendition by April 15th

by Mr. Tracy A. Pounders, Attorney and Counselor at Law on February 1, 2017

Pounders Law: North Texas Property Tax Solutions (214) 628-4357

February 1, 2017

Dear Fellow Businessperson,

Just a friendly reminder: your business personal property tax rendition is due to your local Appraisal District by April 15th.  Your “rendition” is your chance to tell the Appraisal District what property your business has and how much that property is worth – helping the CAD folks get it right up front will only take you a few moments.  If you don’t file the rendition, or you file it late, fixing it later will be a lot harder and there will be a financial penalty assessed against you.  You can find more information about renditions on the Collin County Central Appraisal District website – www.CollinCAD.org , and the Lamar County Appraisal District website – www.LamarCAD.org.

Pounders Law: North Texas Property Tax Solutions (214) 628-4357

 

 

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