What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Louisiana?

Your Louisiana property (or a portion of it) could be sold at a tax sale to pay off a delinquent tax bill.

In Louisiana, your property (or a portion of it) could be sold at a tax sale if you have a delinquent tax bill. You will then eventually lose ownership of the property if you don’t pay off the debt during what’s called a “redemption period” after the sale. In this article, find out more about how the tax sale process works in Louisiana, what kind of notice you’ll get about an impending tax sale, how long you have to pay off the taxes after the sale before you actually lose your property, and more.

Property Tax Sales in Louisiana

If you fail to pay your Louisiana property taxes, you may lose your property or part of it to a tax sale. The price at the sale is fixed at the amount of taxes, interest, penalties, and costs that are due (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 47:2153, 47:2196). (If you are struggling to pay your property taxes, learn about your  options to avoid a tax sale.)

How the sale works.  At the sale, the collector will sell the portion of the property that you designate (identify or point out) that will cover the amount due (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 47:2153). If you do not point out any property or do not designate sufficient property, the property will be sold to the person who offers the total amount due in exchange for:

  • the smallest percentage interest in your property or
  • the lowest redemption penalty rate (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 47:2153). (The purchaser can elect to bid down the 5% penalty that you’ll have to pay if you want to get your home back after the sale. This is covered in more detail below.)

What will happen following the sale.  After the sale, the tax collector will file a tax sale certificate in the public records (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 47:2155). The tax sale certificate basically acts as evidence of the purchaser’s interest in the property, subject to your right to redeem the property (see below).

Notice of the Tax Sale

Before the sale, the tax collector must provide you with notice by mail and publication.

Notice by mail.  The collector will mail you a notice saying that you must get caught up on the delinquent amounts within 20 days or the parish or other political subdivision (such as the municipality) will proceed with a tax sale (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 47:2153).

Notice by publication.  At least 20 days after sending you the written notice, the collector must publish notice about the sale two times within 30 days in an official journal (a newspaper) (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 47:2153).

How to Stop the Sale From Happening

You can stop the sale from taking place by paying the amounts due at any time up until the day before the actual sale (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 47:2153).

Your Right to Redeem Your Property After the Sale

In Louisiana, you generally get three years after the date the tax sale certificate was recorded to redeem your property (La. Const. Art. VII, § 25). (“Redeeming” the property means getting full ownership back.)

How much you will have to pay to redeem.  To get ownership of your property back, you must pay the price the purchaser paid for the property at the sale, including costs, a 5% penalty (or less if the purchaser has bid down the penalty rate at the sale), and 1% interest per month. (Learn more in  Getting Your Home Back After a Property Tax Sale in Louisiana.)

Finding Louisiana’s Tax Sale Laws

To find the tax sale laws for Louisiana, go to § § 47:2151 through 47:2197 and 47:2241 through 47:2247 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, as well as the Louisiana Constitution, Article VII, § 25 atwww.legis.la.gov/legis/LawSearch.aspx. (If you need help finding the statutes, see Nolo’s  Legal Research FAQs & Basic Info  area.)

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