For many homeowners, information about their delinquent property taxes is kept anonymous from the public eye; or at least not easily obtainable. However, homeowners in Weymouth, Massachusetts, who are delinquent on their taxes or have had a tax lien placed against their property will soon be losing their anonymity.
Homeowners were given until the first of this month to pay up, or face the consequences of potential public embarrassment. Now, in an effort to get homeowners to pay their delinquent taxes, the city of Weymouth will be utilizing the World Wide Web to publicize all delinquencies. Those who have failed to pay delinquent tax debts by July 15 will have their names published on the town’s website.
City officials have confirmed that publishing the names of property tax debtors is part of an ongoing effort to “crack down” on tax delinquency. The public list will not only include the property owner’s name, but will also include the property address and the principal balance owed.
As of now, the city of Weymouth has around $3 million in outstanding debt on record. The goal of publicizing the taxation delinquency list is to prompt people to pay, in the hopes of making a dent in the $3 million worth of unpaid debt.
There is some speculation as to whether or not the list will have an impact on tax delinquent property owners. Other towns in the region have used similar methods with disappointing results. However, some property owners may find it is difficult to cope with the negative publicity that could accompany the online list.
A spokesperson for the Massachusetts town stated that some people have already paid their delinquent tax notes, and have taken advantage of an amnesty program, which expired on July 1.
Unfortunately, for some property owners, paying delinquent taxes is not possible. They may now even have a lien placed on their property. Legal advice on how to avoid the situation or how to remedy the lien after the fact may be of benefit for them.
Source: The Enterprise News, “Weymouth to post tax delinquents’ info on town website,” Christian Schiavone, 07 July 2011