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March 23 last day to pay delinquent taxes
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It’s property tax time again, with a twist.
Warren County property owners have until March 23 to pay their delinquent taxes to prevent their property from being sold at auction the following day.
“As of Monday, there are 116 parcels set to be auctioned off at the delinquent property tax sale,” said Clerk and Master Myra Mara. “I hope I don’t have to auction all of them off, but you just never know.”
Parcels for which the taxes have not been paid for two years or more will be auctioned at the Warren County Courthouse beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 24 in the Circuit Court room.
The last delinquent property tax sale in Warren County was in 2008. At that time, approximately 50 properties were on the delinquent property tax list. About two dozen went unpaid and were sold at auction.
The Clerk and Master’s office makes numerous attempts to inform property owners of the pending situation, with certified mail the first step in the process.
“We just sent out over 150 notices,” said Mara. “Hopefully, we will hear from some of the property owners after they receive their statements. Last year, we had to send out over 800 notices. That was probably the most we have ever sent.”
Personal notification by a sheriff’s deputy, or a notice explaining the situation, is placed in the Southern Standard, as well as a second publication listing all the properties.
“I usually run two notifications in the Standard,” said Mara. “We are only required to run one. If someone doesn’t see the first notification, we hope they see the second. It’s a last resort to sell the property. However, if we don’t sell it, the state will step in and sell it. We don’t want that.”
Even after the property is sold, property owners are given a final chance to regain their property. They have one year to pay the delinquent taxes before the transaction at auction becomes final.
Properties making the list are two or more years behind on property taxes. Mara says out-of-town property owners, the elderly, the death of the property owner, and a city/ county misunderstanding are four of the most common reasons for delinquencies.
“When people pass away, the next of kin forget that property taxes still have to be paid while they are waiting on the estate to be settled,” she said. “Sometimes, city property owners forget they must pay both city and county taxes. When they tell us that they have paid, we check. Most of the time they paid one, but not the other. If you just pay one, the property goes onto the list.”
Individuals interested in bidding at the delinquent tax sale should investigate the property before doing so. The Clerk and Master gives no guarantees or warranties on the property. It is the buyer’s responsibility to know what he or she is bidding on, says Mara.
For more information about the land available or those seeking to pay delinquent taxes, contact the Warren County Clerk and Master’s office at 473-2364.