Real Estate Tax Proration in Real Estate Closings

A common question that arises during the closing process is how a real estate tax proration works in Kansas. Every county in Kansas, including Pottawatomie, Wabaunsee and Riley Counties, has a tax levied against real estate.  It is based upon the value of the property owned by an individual.  There are also different tax rates for residential, commercial and agricultural real estate.  Taxes are due for each year a person owns real estate and are charged against the owner of the real estate at the time the tax becomes due.  In Kansas, real estate taxes are not due until the month of December of the year of the accrued tax.  Additionally, the actual amount of tax is also not known until shortly before the tax is owed. So, basically, that year’s taxes are always paid at the end of the year in December.  To add further confusion, an owner of real estate may pay all the tax owed for that year in December or can pay one-half of the tax in December and pay the second half in May of the next year.

So, if you close a real estate transaction on any day besides January 1, the Seller will have occupied the real estate for a portion of the tax year and the Buyer will occupy for a portion of the tax year.  Therefore, to be fair, the Seller pays for the portion of the taxes that accrued while he occupied the real estate and the Buyer for his portion.  However, the actual tax amount is not known until around December, right?  If a transaction closes in July, how do we charge each side its amount?  As real estate taxes are based on value and value typically does not fluctuate wildly year to year, we estimate the amount of the taxes for that year based upon the previous year’s real estate taxes owed.  If your closing takes place when taxes are known, we will use the actual real estate tax figures from the county for that year.

Lastly, real estate taxes for that year cannot be paid until they come due in December.  Therefore, the Seller pays the Buyer the Seller’s portion of the taxes at the closing table.  The Buyer is then responsible for all of the taxes when they come due.  To simplify the process even further, we usually just show this as a credit at the closing table.  Meaning, we reduce the purchase price to be paid to the Seller by the Buyer by the amount of the real estate taxes that are the responsibility of the Seller.

Real estate taxes in Kansas can be quite confusing.  Therefore, if you have additional questions about real estate taxes in your closing, simply call our office for further assistance.  That’s why we are here!