So you bought a house and just received a bill for the whole year of property taxes? No need to worry! This is perfectly normal, and everything is fine.
You see, the property tax bills weren’t available when you bought your house. If they were, they would have been collected for and paid at closing. But when you bought your house, they weren’t out. And since most tax offices don’t release the yearly bills until autumn, this happens pretty much every time someone buys a home.
That’s why there are prorations. If you look at your settlement statement, you should see a credit from the seller to you; and this represents their portion of the taxes. The proration amount is based on the last available bill, and the credit reduces the amount you otherwise would have needed for closing. Everybody’s responsible for their part of the taxes, after all!
When the bill finally does come out, you are ultimately responsible for paying the entire amount that’s owed. If you have a mortgage, most of the time all you need to do is forward the bill to your mortgage company. They’ve already been collecting escrow in anticipation of paying those taxes. If you own your home free and clear, then you should go ahead and pay that bill – but know that the seller contributed their portion at closing.