Delinquent Property Tax: Soft vs. Hard Collections

Unfortunately, delinquent property tax has become a serious problem for many people in our nation. Especially in a time of high foreclosures, many people have chosen to pay their mortgage payments instead of their property tax. These people are now faced with either a soft or hard collection.

Soft Collection
As the name implies, a soft collection is a less severe form of collection. The tax agency will usually hire a third-party collections agency to collect the delinquent property tax payment. This agency will send increasingly urgent letters and make increasingly urgent phone calls to the taxpayer. Though a soft collection may be less severe than a hard collection, a collections agency can contact the taxpayer repeatedly and can become a nuisance, at best, or illegally abusive, at worst.

Hard Collection
A hard collection is another name for a foreclosure or seizure. It is usually preceded by soft collection measures. Without the consent of the taxpayer, the collection agency can foreclose on a house or car, garnish wages, seize bank accounts, or enact other forms of forced payment. For delinquent property tax, hard collections are most likely to involve wage garnishment. Both soft and hard collections can have a damaging effect on the taxpayer's credit report, but hard collections in particular can leave long lasting damage. For this reason, hard collections should always be avoided if at all possible.