It may have been small, but Franklin County Collector Linda Emmons says the 2018 tax sale was a success.
Each year the county collector’s office is mandated to hold the tax sale in an effort to recoup money not only owed to the county, but also kicked up to the state of Missouri.
This year, the county started with 267 parcels with a total of $227,484 back taxes owed.
The county was successful in selling 65 parcels at the sale held Aug. 27, which was more than double the amount sold last year.
“We actually sold 30 more than last year,” Emmons said. “I wish we could have sold more of them, but we just have so many lake lots.”
The 2018 sales recouped $80,430, but only $66,882 will go to the county immediately. The remaining $13,548 overplus will be held for one year to allow owners to come in and pay off their remaining taxes.
In mid-July, Franklin County was owed $641,701 in back taxes on 391 properties on the tax sale roster.
The assessed value of those properties totaled more than $4 million.
Despite the successful sale, the county owns 143 parcels that were not bid on at the tax sale.
At any time during the year, property owners can come in and pay off their delinquent taxes and have their property removed from the tax sale list.
“People usually wait until the last minute,” Emmons said. “We start the notification process in March and I called several people myself to remind them about their unpaid taxes. Some of them said they would come in, but they never showed up.”
Emmons added her office has seen an uptick in delinquent tax payments since articles began appearing in The Missourian.
“People are funny and don’t want to bid too high,” Emmons said. “Usually they don’t bid more than $1,000.”
She added in most tax sales, the same individual will usually purchase the majority of the better properties on the tax sale list.
For a property to be placed on the tax sale list it has to have been delinquent in taxes for three years. The properties can be purchased for whatever the back taxes are owed plus a $150 fee.
The properties are sold in an auction setting and the opening bid must be at least the amount of back taxes owed and can go up from there as bidding continues.
The tax sale properties range from small lake lots to larger commercial properties. Some on the list have descriptions of the properties and others do not.
“It’s not like a foreclosure sale on the courthouse steps where the highest bidder gets the property immediately,” he explained. “It actually takes about a year and a half. We want people to understand the process and know what’s involved.”
Once a bidder wins a property, there is still a chance the former owner can pay their back taxes and keep their land. This process is called a redemption.
If a redemption does happen the former property owner must pay the back taxes and also the new bidder a 10 percent fee on the property as well.
The money paid by the new bidder would then be returned by the county to the bidder.
The collector’s office is mandated by state statute to collect the property taxes and several staff members in the office contribute time and effort to the tax sale.
At least one employee’s main responsibility is to contact those with delinquent property taxes throughout the year to try and collect the taxes for the county.