What happens if I haven’t paid my taxes?

Last updated January 11, 2023
Reading time: 2 min

Didn’t pay your municipal taxes or property transfer duties? Find out what you need to know to limit interest fees and avoid legal proceedings.

The city will undertake different procedures to recover unpaid sums from the owner. These procedures are spread out over a two-year period.  As a last resort, the city may auction off a building to recover the unpaid sums under the provisions of its city charter.

The year in which the invoice was sent

When a balance remains unpaid on a municipal tax account after the deadline, the city sends two statements of account. The statements specify the amount due, including interest and penalty fees.

If there is still an unpaid balance on the account after both statements of account are sent out, the city will send the owner notices of unpaid taxes.

The following year

In March of the year after the tax account is sent out, owners whose account still shows a balance from the previous year will receive an unpaid taxes notice. In addition to the amount due, this notice specifies the legal steps that will follow.

Unless payment follows the final notice, the sale process for defaulted tax payment is initiated:

  • About six months before the sale: A formal notice is sent by mail, titled Tax sale notice. At this stage, a $45 fee is added to the balance.
  • About three months before the sale: A final warning is sent by mail prior to publishing the list of buildings that will be put up for sale.
  • About two months before the sale: The list of buildings that will be sold is published in a Montréal daily newspaper and on the city’s Web site. At this stage, a notice of sale is registered on the Registre foncier du Québec, and additional fees will apply (5% of the capital - Maximum : $2,000). The information is also sent to mortgage creditors.

Auctions are generally held in November.

Ending the sale process

A building can be removed from the process if the balance for the year in question is paid in full before the sale.