The back taxes owed on a home are found in listings of homes scheduled for tax foreclosure at the county courthouse, in local newspapers or posted online by the local county government, according to Jeannine Mancini for SFGate. Lists of these homes can also be located by contacting the county tax collector's office.
Each state has its own set of rules and differing fees and penalties for nonpayment of real estate taxes, notes Marie Huntington for The Nest. When homeowners fall behind on taxes, their county government can sell their homes at auction. The county tax collector must place a lien against the property before it can be sold. Bidding for the home starts with the amount of back taxes owed plus fees, court costs and interest. In many cases, the successful bidder is able to acquire the property for significantly lower than market value.
Some states grant the successful bidder full rights to the property, while others grant ownership of the lien and require the bidder to foreclose and evict the delinquent taxpayers himself. Some states have a redemption period that gives the delinquent taxpayer the right to pay off the tax debt and retain ownership of the home for a specified time period after the tax sale, explains Huntington.