What Is a Distraint Warrant?

Updated July 19, 2017

Distraint warrants are a legally enforceable means of ensuring future payment on back property taxes and liens from delinquent taxpayers. To ensure payment of taxes, the state can issue a warrant to protect the property owner's assets for future liquidation.


A distraint warrant states how much is owed in property tax payments and the deadline for their payment. It also contains an injunction, or a refusal to allow the recipient to sell, remove or destroy property that can be seized for sale and payment of back taxes.


People served with a distraint warrant may be responsible for both the legal and delivery costs of the document as well as the back taxes that triggered the warrant in the first place.

Administrative Details

Distraint warrants are issued by the state tax commission and can be delivered either by the sheriff or an agent of the commission. Funds raised by the sale of property listed in a distraint warrant are applied and deducted from the total amount owed in taxes.

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About the Author

Marit Anderson has been a writer since 2005. She contributes to the website BlogCritics, where she serves as a fashion critic and editor. Her work has also appeared in various other online publications. Anderson holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and in humanities, media and cultural studies from Macalester College. She is currently a Juris Doctor candidate from Case Western School of Law.