What Is a Property Tax Receipt?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A property tax receipt is a document that provides information about a property tax payment. This document can be useful in the event that proof of payment is required. This typically arises with taxes on real estate. If property owners lose tax receipts or need copies of old receipts they no longer have, they can request them from the government agency in charge of property taxes. It is useful to have as much information as possible, including address, parcel number, and the approximate date of the payment.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

The property tax receipt should describe the property in detail so there can be no doubts about which property is under discussion. It will typically include an address, description, and parcel number, along with the names of the owner and lien holders, if there are any. The date will note the period covered, the amount due, and the amount paid. It also indicates when the property tax payment was received.

One reason to keep property tax receipts is for personal tax statements. Certain payments may be tax deductible, if the taxpayer has evidence of those payments. These documents can be kept with other information about the property for taxes and other declarations. The property tax receipt can also be useful if a consumer later has a question about how much was paid in taxes, or believes a tax rate was erroneously applied and wants to correct the situation.

It can also be important to have a property tax receipt if the tax agency attempts to claim the taxes were not paid. The original receipt with documentation from the tax collector indicates that the payment was made, and when. If the payment was not made in full, it may also reference a payment agreement the property owner can use to show that he is on track with payments. It is important to keep property tax receipts in a convenient location so they will be readily available if necessary, as nonpayment of taxes can be grounds for a lien sale, and this can be avoided by showing the receipts.

If a tax collector does not automatically provide a property tax receipt with payment, the property owner can ask for one. A canceled check can also act as a receipt, if the information on the memo line is detailed. A check written to the tax collector with no memo line is not helpful, but one indicating that it's for property taxes for a certain time period on a specific parcel number will show what the payment was intended for, and when it was received, on the basis of the processing stamps on the back at the endorsement line.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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