Could You Owe Past Taxes for a House You Just Bought or Sold?

Attention Mecklenburg County Homeowners:  Senate Bill 159 May Impact You

On October 1, 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly approved Session Law 2015-266 – Senate Bill 159 to clarify how additional taxes levied on undervalued properties can be collected by a county. The original Bill passed in 2013 to address the erroneous valuation of properties from 2011. The passage of the Bill resulted in the reevaluation of thousands of properties in Mecklenburg County. For properties that were undervalued, owners received delinquent tax bills dating back to 2011. 

Unfortunately, many owners received delinquent tax bills for years they did not own the property. If the property changed ownership, the original Bill allowed county tax offices to send tax bills to the current owners and not the previous owners stating the tax was against the property and not the owners. The original Bill considered the delinquent tax bill a lien on the real property. In other words, the current owners were expected to pay the delinquent tax bill whether or not they owned the property at the time.  

The 2015 Senate Bill 159 was introduced to address the issue of how counties can collect back taxes on properties that have changed ownership. The Bill states that if a property has changed owners in a tax year that requires a reevaluation, the taxes for each tax year prior to and in the fiscal year in which the transfer occurred shall be collected against the record owner as of January 1st of that tax year. The collection method would not result in a lien on the real property or require the new owner to pay the unpaid taxes for a property they did not own at the time. The Bill also states that owners who already paid delinquent taxes for years they did not own the property would have a right to a refund. Refunds must be paid within 90 days of the request, and the county must pay interest on the refunded taxes. 

It is important to note that the revised Bill only affects properties that have changed ownership. Property owners that have owned their parcels since 2011 are still responsible for additional taxes levied on their parcel. 

If you paid delinquent taxes for years you did not own your property, be sure to contact the Mecklenburg County Assessor’s office. You will need to fill out the Senate 159 refund application along with documented proof of tax payment and return it to the Mecklenburg County Assessor’s office at PO BOX 31127, Charlotte, NC 28231. After processing, you should receive a refund that includes interest. 

To obtain a refund request form or get more information about refunds related to Senate Bill 159, contact the County Assessor’s Office by email at RPEMAIL@mecklenburgcountync.gov.

Published by Bess Harris Reynolds on August 9, 2016