By Greg Bird
County Attorney Austin Price said his office is available to provide assistance to property owners who have yet to pay their property tax bills for 2018 – hopefully helping them avoid incurring more fees or having their delinquent bill be purchased by a third-party.
A notice of all delinquent tax bills in McCreary County will be published in next week’s edition of the Voice, serving as a public notice of the delinquencies. For the majority of the property owners, interest will be accrued against the debt, and a lien is placed – preventing the sale or transfer of the property without first paying the past-due taxes.
But some property bills could face harsher penalties if those bills are purchased by a third party.
Delinquent property tax bills, known as certificates of delinquency, can be purchased from the County Clerk during a public auction – held every year after the final collection date has passed. If that occurs, a tax lien is posted against the property – meaning the property owner is subject to not only pay the lien holder the value of the outstanding bill, but also fees and interest that are added on. The property could also be subject to foreclosure – forcing the property owner to sell the land, and use the proceeds to pay the lien holders.
“You could have a little tax bill suddenly become a big one,” Price said.
Price noted his office can help those who owe past taxes on their property.
“We offer assistance to those who have a delinquent tax bill,” Price said. “We know that tax bills come at a difficult time of the year (around Christmas) and people sometimes have trouble paying them when they come due. We can help set them up on an easy payment plan to stop the bill from getting much worse.”
Price also noted that if an individual hasn’t received a tax bill they should check with the County PVA office to ensure they have the proper address on file.
As of April 15 all tax bills were transferred from Sheriff Randy Waters’ office to County Clerk Eric Haynes. At that point they became certificates of delinquency and interest began to accrue on the bill at a rate of one percent per month. Additionally, a 10-percent Clerk fee and 20-percent County Attorney fee were also added.
Price stated his office sent notice to all delinquent bill holders in May and June, alerting them to the delinquency, and notifying them of the possible consequences.
Any certificate of delinquency can be offered up for sale at a public auction in the Clerk’s office on August 30 at 10:00 a.m.
If a certificate of delinquency is sold to a third party purchaser, the property owner must then work with the third party to arrange for payment of the delinquency. There will be substantial additional fees that will be applied to the total due by the third party purchaser. An installment payment plan can be requested of a third party purchaser.
Last year only three third-party purchasers bought about 50 delinquent tax bills in McCreary County, Haynes’ office reported. To date, only one potential purchaser has registered locally for the upcoming sale, but others could follow.
To potentially purchase a tax bill, one must register with Haynes’ office for a $10 fee. Anyone wishing to purchase more than three outstanding bills must also register with the Kentucky Department of Revenue and pay a $250 fee.