In July 16 Issue
Russell County Attorney Kevin Shearer is urging people with delinquent real estate property tax bills to come to the Russell County Court Clerk's Office and pay the taxes before the bills are sold to third-party purchasers.
If you are unable to pay in full, then the Russell County Attorney's office is capable of entering into a Delinquent Real Estate Tax Agreement in Lieu of Foreclosure Contract for a monthly payment plan to pay off the delinquent tax amount.
Some 426 delinquent real estate tax bills for 2010 totaling about $176,454.34 will be offered for sale August 11, beginning at 10 a.m., in the Circuit Courtroom at the Russell County Courthouse. Before then, delinquent bills can be paid and property owners will avoid the high cost of dealing with a third-party purchaser, Shearer advised.
"A delinquent tax bill bought by a third-party purchaser becomes a financial burden on the property owner," Shearer cautioned. The purchased bill becomes a lien on the property and with a 12 percent annual interest rate plus various administrative and legal fees, the bill can triple or quadruple. Left unpaid, it can eventually lead to foreclosure.
"With one percent a month interest and numerous fees, a delinquent tax bill turns out to be very profitable for third-party purchasers," Shearer explained. Buyers go from county to county for the tax bills sales, dates of which are set by the Kentucky Department of Revenue.
"Anybody after the sale can come to the Russell County Clerk's office and buy an unsold delinquent tax bill. The clerk's office has no choice . . . they have to sell it . . . its state law . . . it's mandatory," said Shearer.
It is predicted about a third of the more than 426 delinquent bills will be purchased during the August 11th sale. Buyers draw a number and are given an opportunity to purchase up to 25 delinquent bills at a time in numerical order.
"A delinquent tax bill purchased by a third-party purchaser becomes a lien on the property. Buying the tax bill is not buying the property," Shearer explained. Previous third-party purchasers of a delinquent tax bill on a piece of property have priority at the upcoming sale to buy the 2010 delinquent tax bill on that property.
"This sale is not our doing. It is required by state law (House Bill 262). The law now requires the sheriff on April 15th to turn over delinquent taxes to the county clerk for collection," says Shearer.
County Attorney Kevin Shearer said that on April 15th Sheriff Larry Bennett turned over to the Russell County Court Clerk's office 632 delinquent tax bills on which $231,208.44 taxes were due. Since then, several of the delinquent bills have been paid, reducing the total still due on 426 unpaid bills to about $176,454.34.
State law makes it the responsibility of property owners to pay their taxes whether or not they get a bill.
The Russell County Attorney's office has been granted the authority by House Bill 262 to enter into payment agreements with delinquent tax bill holders before the sale date of August 11, 2011 in which a payment plan can be worked out with the property owner to make monthly or weekly payments up to one calendar year from the date of the contract. This service will allow that tax bill to be removed from the active list for third-party purchasers. Please call the Russell County Attorney's office at 270-343-2105 for further details or come by the office at 104 Monument Square, Jamestown, KY.
Shearer urged taxpayers to go to Russell County Clerk's website - www.russell.clerkinfo.net - to see if they owe taxes on their property.