Personal Bankruptcy and Property Taxes

How Going Bankrupt Impacts Property Taxes

Personal bankruptcy and property taxes are two financial concepts that many homeowners find complex and daunting. However, understanding the intricate relationship between these two can be an important step in navigating financial difficulties, especially when considering bankruptcy or a consumer proposal. Let’s delve into the world of personal bankruptcy and property taxes to shed light on these critical aspects of homeownership.

The Basics of Property Taxes

Property taxes can be a significant burden for homeowners. It’s a charge imposed on the property, acting similarly to a secured debt. If these taxes are not paid timely, they can act as a lien or mortgage on the property, giving it an edge over other unsecured debts. This unique characteristic of property taxes often leads to confusion among homeowners.

The Special Rights of Property Taxes

Property taxes have been granted special rights under Canadian law, which can be quite surprising for many homeowners. For instance, municipalities have the authority to apply payments towards property tax arrears against the most recent taxes first. This may seem like a trivial detail, but it can have profound implications if you fall two or three years behind on your taxes.

The Risk of Property Seizure

The laws surrounding personal bankruptcy and property taxes become especially critical when a property tax account falls three years into arrears. In such a scenario, the municipal government has the right to seize and sell the property to recover the property tax arrears. This is where the ability of the municipality to apply payments to the newest taxes first becomes significant. It essentially means that falling three or more property tax years in arrears can lead to the sale of your property.

Personal Bankruptcy and Property Taxes: The Connection

When considering bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, it’s vital to understand how property taxes come into play. Being a form of secured debt, property taxes are excluded from bankruptcy or a consumer proposal unless the property is surrendered.

Keeping the Property

If a homeowner decides to keep the property, the property tax arrears must be repaid, or the municipality may exercise their right to seize and sell the property. This is a crucial consideration when dealing with personal bankruptcy and property taxes.

Surrendering the Property

On the other hand, if the property is surrendered, the property tax account will be paid in priority to other liens and charges on the property, clearing the debt. This can be a strategic move for individuals considering bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.

Seeking Professional Advice

If you’re considering bankruptcy or a consumer proposal and have property tax arrears, it’s strongly recommended to discuss all of your options regarding the property and develop a plan to deal with the arrears. This should be a part of your overall plan to sort out your financial difficulties. For advice on personal bankruptcy and property taxes, contact a local Bankruptcy Canada trustee today.

Understanding personal bankruptcy and property taxes can be a complex endeavor. However, with the correct knowledge and guidance, it’s possible to navigate these financial challenges effectively.


Personal bankruptcy and property taxes are two intertwined concepts that homeowners must understand. While property taxes can act as a secured debt, leading to potential property seizure in case of arrears, understanding how they interact with personal bankruptcy can be key to navigating financial difficulties. Always seek professional advice when dealing with such complex financial matters.


Remember, while personal bankruptcy and property taxes can be overwhelming, understanding these concepts can be your first step towards regaining financial stability.

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