The municipality in which Cancún is located is going after 132,000 property owners for unpaid taxes.
The municipal government of Benito Juárez, Quintana Roo, says 40% of homeowners have failed to pay their predial, or property tax, and is taking steps to collect.
Treasurer Lamberto Cruz said the process will begin with an invitation to property owners to pay up along with the option to negotiate discounts on the fines and late fees they might have incurred.
Those who fail to heed the first approach will receive a second letter notifying them of a 45-day deadline to pay the debt in full. At the end of that period the municipal treasury will seize the property for auction if the taxes remain unpaid.
“This doesn’t mean we’re looking for a confrontation with the people, but to collect in an orderly and legal manner,” said Cruz.
But it doesn’t mean either that homeowners are happy about the process. The newspaper Milenio reported citizens are irritated by the move, particularly those in suburban neighborhoods who lack services or must put up with deficiencies in those they do have.
In the past, the municipal administration has announced discount programs that allow property tax debtors to pay what they owe without any fines. Still, only 60% of the 330,000 registered dwellings are currently up-to-date with their tax obligations.
Cruz clarified that those homeowners that are not able to pay their debt in full will be offered payment plans according to their economic situation.
So far, the municipal treasurer’s office has moved to the seizure stage of the collection process in 35 of the 132,000 cases.