Delinquent taxes cause hassles
With fall approaching, the county treasurer’s office is preparing for a new tax season.
Unpaid taxes transfer from current to delinquent status in preparation for the November tax session.
“It doesn’t do people good to let them get further and further behind,” county treasurer Jeannine Bateman said.
The county assesses 10 percent interest on delinquent taxes until the amount reaches $5,000. Then the interest rate increases to 15 percent.
The county imposes a lien on properties with delinquent taxes. If the property is sold, the taxes due are taken from the sale.
After the third year of delinquent taxes, the property is seized by the county and sold.
“The last thing we want is to be in the real estate business,” Bateman said.
The county gives time for property owners to pay back taxes before the property is sold at a foreclosure sale, she said.
“If they come in immediately, they can pay whatever year will get them out of the tax foreclosure sale,” she said. “If they wait until the case is filed… they have to pay everything.”
Owners can set up a payment plan, but they have to demonstrate diligence in making payments.
If property is sold by the county, previous owners can be evicted.
“If somebody else buys it at a tax foreclosure sale, they can go to the sheriff and get an ouster,” Bateman said.
Neglecting tax payments hurts more than just the individual. It hurts the county as a whole.
When budgets are filed, delinquencies are accounted for and taxes are raised across the board, Bateman said.
“If three percent of the taxes are delinquent, they will add three percent to the budget request,” she said. “We all get to pay that.”
When the county decides to foreclose, the case is taken to local attorney Susan Robson, who files a lawsuit.
Last modified Sept. 13, 2018