Summer tax bills are due July 1, but are payable through September 15 without penalty. Summer taxes not paid by September 15 are assessed a 4% penalty. Winter tax bills are due December 1, but are payable through February 14 without penalty. Winter taxes not paid by February 14 are assessed a 3% late fee.
Both tax bills cover a calendar year - Janyary through December. The summer tax bill includes the City operating tax, library, municipal band, rubbish, CSO debt service, any special assessments, Lake Michigan College, Intermediate School District, and a portion of the county operating tax. The winter tax bill includes only the remaining county taxes.
Seniors Summer Deferments - Seniors who meet the qualifications, can defer payment of summer taxes until February 14th by filing the deferment form with the tax department. To qualify seniors must own and occupy their home, must be over 62 years of age and either paraplegic, quadriplegic, eligible serviceperson, eligible veteran, eligible widow or widower, blind or permanently disabled with annual income under $25,000. Click here to download the Summer Tax Deferment Application.
Seniors Winter Deferments - Seniors must file a Homestead Property Tax Credit form with the State of Michigan (as part of the Michigan 1040 form) and qualify for a refund. A copy of the completed form must be brought to the tax office before February 15th. After March 1st, taxes must be paid to the Berrien County Treasurer in St. Joseph.
The finance department also collects all other revenues for the City of St. Joseph and dog license fees for Berrien County. Dog licenses are available at the finance department between December 1st and March 1st of each year.
All payments to the tax department must be by check or cash. Credit cards are not accepted. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at 983-4731.
The City of St. Joseph and the Berrien County treasurer's office have widely distributed the following information to homeowners to ensure that residents are aware of the consequences of delinquent taxes and what measures can be taken to ensure that your property remains your property. Please review the following information and call us if you have any questions. Contact numbers are also listed below.
Delinquent Property Tax Payments
The new tax reversion process as provided for under Public Act 123 of 1999 will speed up the time period during which a taxpayer could lose their property due to delinquent property taxes. Previous law allowed property taxes to remain delinquent for an extended period before the property was subject to foreclosure. Taxpayers now have only two years from the date of delinquency. For example, people who fail to pay their 1999 taxes will lose their property to foreclosure in March 2002.
This may be a critical issue for some individuals: elderly taxpayers who have limited financial resources or others who have developed a habit of paying their taxes late. There is a concern that some of these individuals could suffer the loss of their home simply because they are not alert to the new tax payment requirements. If you have a parent, other relative, or an acquaintance that might fall within this group, you could help by checking with our Deputy Treasurer in the City Tax Department. Tax records are public information. If you provide us with a name and address we can check the record and advise if the individual has delinquent taxes. If a delinquency exists, you can then bring the matter to the attention of the individual and advise them of the consequences of not paying the taxes.
If I don't pay my taxes, will I really lose my house and property?
Yes. Under the old law property owners who had delinquent taxes could also lose their property, but they had more time to pay and more "second chances." Under the new law, if your taxes are delinquent for two years, that's it. You've lost the property.
What is a delinquent tax?
A delinquent tax is an unpaid tax that has been forwarded to the county treasurer for collection on March 1st of the year after it was assessed. For example, taxes that were billed by the city in July 1999 became delinquent and were turned over to the county treasurer on March 1, 2000.
What happens after the property is forwarded to the county treasurer for collection?
The county treasurer adds a 4% administration fee and interest of 1% per month. After one year, the property is forfeited to the county treasurer. For example, 1999 taxes that were still unpaid as of March 1, 2001, would be in forfeiture.
What does it mean for my property to be in forfeiture? Does that mean I lose my property?
No. Forfeiture is not foreclosure. If your property is in forfeiture, you still have a year before it will be foreclosed; and additional interest and fees are added. When a property is forfeited, the interest rate goes from 1% per month to 1.5% per month, back to the date the taxes became delinquent. A $175 fee is also added.
What happens after my property is in forfeiture?
After a property has been in forfeiture for one year it will be foreclosed. 1999 property taxes will be foreclosed in March 2002.
What happens after my property is foreclosed? How do I get it back? You cannot get your property back after it has been foreclosed. Foreclosure is final. Property that has been foreclosed upon will be sold to the State of Michigan or to the local unit of government for a public purpose, or at a public auction to the highest bidder.
If you have any questions about these topics, please contact the City and we will be glad to help you.