Franklin County is owed $641,701 in back taxes on 391 properties on the Aug. 27 tax sale roster.
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.
The current assessed value of the properties on the county tax sale list totals more than $4 million.
County Chief Deputy Collector Doug Trentmann explained the cost to purchase the proprieties can range from a few hundred dollars up to tens of thousands.
“For a property to be placed on the tax sale list it has to have been delinquent in taxes for three years,” he said. “The properties can be purchased for whatever the back taxes are owed plus a $150 fee.”
Trentmann added 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.
Trentmann urges potential bidders to do some research on both the properties on the list and the tax sale process.
“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 from the county.
The list of delinquent properties can be seen at the county collector’s office in Union and updated lists are being published weekly in The Missourian.
Trentmann said over the next few weeks several property owners will come in and pay their delinquent taxes and the properties will be removed from the list, so it is ever evolving.
At the auction itself on Aug. 27, less than 50 of the 391 available properties will likely be sold.
At that point, Franklin County will become the owner of the property and continue to lose out on the property tax revenue each year until it is sold.
“I think we sold 30 or 40 last year,” Trentmann said. “Once they are sold people have to follow up and it can be a long process.”
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.
Trentmann said 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.