Robert J. Fedor, Esq., L.L.C.

Tax debt can have dire consequences

Owning a home is an integral part of the idyllic American dream. For many homeowners, their home provides not only a roof over their head, but is also where they raised families and made memories. Given the significance of a home and property, it stands to reason that losing a home or being forced to sell a home would be a devastating prospect for many.

There are many responsibilities that come with home ownership. Homeowners must ensure a house is maintained properly, the roof isn't leaking, the plumbing is in working order and there are no major structural problems. There are also several financial obligations that come with owning a home, including the payment of certain taxes.


One city that is facing a $11 million dollar tax delinquency crisis, recently announced plans to seize the properties of hundreds of homeowners who have failed to pay their taxes. The first 100 homes owned by individuals with unpaid taxes are set to be foreclosed upon and sold next month.

The home of one 62-year-old man, who owes more than $19,000 in delinquent property taxes, is on the list of homes slated to be seized by the city and sold. The man's tax debt stems largely from medical problems which have resulted in medical bills and mounting debt which he is unable to pay on his fixed income. He has lived in his childhood home for more than 50 years.

City officials say they've provided targeted homeowners with information related to special tax repayment programs. However, existing debt and credit problems weeded out most applicants who must now move in with relatives or find an apartment.

Individuals dealing with tax debt often feel hopeless and overwhelmed. Failing to pay property, income or payroll taxes can have dire consequences and may result in an individual losing their home or potentially their freedom should criminal charges and a conviction result. For these reasons, it's often wise to consult with an attorney who is well-versed in tax matters.

Source: The Post-Standard, "Hard-luck tales surface as Syracuse prepares to seize 101 tax deliquent properties," Tim Knauss, July 30, 2013