What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Mississippi

If you don’t pay your Mississippi property taxes, you might eventually lose ownership of your home.

If your property taxes aren’t paid up in Mississippi, you might lose your home after a tax sale. But the person or entity that buys it at the sale doesn’t get ownership of the property or the right to live in the home right away; you get a few years to get caught up on the overdue amounts before this happens. If you don’t pay off your Mississippi property taxes during this time frame—called a “redemption period”—however, you will have to give up your home.

Mississippi Tax Sales

Failing to pay your real property taxes in Mississippi can lead to a tax sale. At the tax sale, the tax collector will sell a tax lien certificate at a public auction to the highest bidder. (Miss. Code Ann. § 27-41-59). If no one bids, it is “struck off” (sold) to the state. (If you're having trouble paying your Mississippi property taxes, learn about options to avoid a tax sale.)

Following the auction, the purchaser gets a receipt, called a tax certificate. (Miss. Code Ann. § 27-41-75). At the end of the redemption period (see below), the purchaser can get a tax deed (title) to your home. (Miss. Code Ann. § 27-45-23).

Notice Before the Tax Sale in Mississippi

Prior to the auction, the tax collector generally must publish a notice of sale in a newspaper for two weeks. In some districts, the notice must be posted on the courthouse door. (Miss. Code Ann. § 27-41-55).

Your Right to Redeem the Home

In Mississippi, homeowners who lose their property to a tax sale get a certain amount of time in which to pay off the tax debt and prevent the purchaser from getting title to the home following the sale. This is called the right to redeem the property.

How long you get to redeem the home in Mississippi. In Mississippi, most homeowners get two years after the sale (which is called the “redemption period”) to redeem the home. (Miss. Code Ann. §§ 27-45-3, 21-33-61). (Learn more about how to redeem your home, including how much it will cost to redeem, in Getting Your Home Back After a Property Tax Sale in Mississippi.)

Notice about your right to redeem. Not more than 180 days and not fewer than 60 days before your right to redeem expires, the court clerk or municipal clerk will send you a notice letting you know that the purchaser will get title to your property if you don’t redeem by the expiration date. (Miss. Code Ann. §§ 27-43-4, 27-43-1).

Where to Locate Mississippi’s Property Tax Sale Laws

If you want to review the laws that discuss tax sales in Mississippi, go to Titles 21 and 27, §§ 21-33-1 through 21-33-91, 27-41-1 through 27-41-89, and 27-45-1 through 27-45-29 of the Mississippi Code. (For further help in finding the statutes, see Nolo’s Legal Research FAQs & Basic Info area.)

If you have questions about tax sales, consider talking to a real estate attorney or, possibly, a foreclosure attorney.

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