If you don't pay your real property taxes in Michigan, you'll forfeit your home to the county treasurer. The county or other government entity can then start a process to foreclose on the home and eventually sell it to a new owner.
The good news is that you'll get some time after the forfeiture to get caught up on the delinquent amounts before the foreclosure is complete so that you can save your home.
How Michigan Tax Forfeitures and Foreclosures Work
When you don't pay your Michigan property taxes, you'll forfeit your property to the county treasurer on March 1st the year after you become delinquent on the taxes, which is the second year of the delinquency. The foreclosing government entity will then begin a foreclosure action in court. The court will enter a judgment of foreclosure, typically in late March of the following year (the third year of the delinquency).
Once the home is foreclosed, it can be sold to a new owner, and the county may keep the profits. Most states refund the surplus, but Michigan is among a few states that allow the government to keep the profits. (To get details on the tax forfeiture and foreclosure process in Michigan, see What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Michigan.)
Redemption Period After a Tax Forfeiture in Michigan
After the forfeiture, you get some time to pay off the tax debt and "redeem" your home. Redeeming the property will stop the foreclosure.
How Long You Get to Redeem
Under Michigan law, you will get approximately one year after the forfeiture to redeem your home. Specifically, you can redeem your home:
at any time on or before March 31st after the foreclosure judgment (that is, March 31st in the third year of the delinquency) or
if you contested the foreclosure, within 21 days after the court enters a judgment foreclosing the property. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 211.78g).
You don't get a redemption period after the foreclosure is complete.
How Much It Costs to Redeem Your Property
To redeem your property, you'll typically have to pay to the county treasurer:
the total amount of unpaid delinquent taxes
fees. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 211.78g).
You Might Be Able to Enter Into an Installment Agreement to Stop the Foreclosure
If your situation meets specific criteria, like if you meet the federal poverty income standards, you might be able to enter into an installment payment plan to get current on the delinquent amounts. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 211.78q). Entering into a payment plan will stop the foreclosure. For information about how to apply for a property tax installment plan, check with your county treasurer's office.
Reducing Your Michigan Property Taxes
Even though you'll get some time to redeem your Michigan home after a tax forfeiture, in most cases, it's better to take action earlier to try to make your taxes more affordable. For instance, before you fall behind in your taxes, you could:
look into whether you meet the criteria for a property tax abatement, or
challenge the taxable value of your home, if you think it's incorrect.
Getting Help From a Tax or Other Attorney
If you want more information about property tax and redemption laws in Michigan, consider talking to a foreclosure lawyer, a real estate lawyer, or a tax lawyer.