Thursday, September 4, 2008
County tax sale largest ever
By SUE WATSON
The sale of delinquent taxes owed on 2,075 parcels of property August 25 drew $1,068,026.66 into Marshall County coffers, according to tax collector Betty Byrd.
The taxes are for outstanding 2007 taxes on property, she said.
The sale was handled round-robin style at the new courtroom on the square. The revenue is money needed to finish out the county’s 2007-08 fiscal year - money needed to operate the city and county schools and for the Holly Springs and Marshall County budget, Byrd said.
Of the total, $711,000 will go to county coffers, $68,000 to the city, and $289,000 for the two school districts.
About 110 buyers participated in the sale Monday of last week.
“We packed the courtroom,” Byrd said. “There was no overbidding this year. The sale started at about 8:45 a.m. and was over by 4:15 p.m. We sold 2,075 parcels during that time.”
Byrd thanked the board of supervisors for providing the new courtroom for the sale. In previous years, buyers have squeezed in like canned sardines into the tiny board room with only one bathroom available, and many stood the whole day in order to participate.
“We had more room to spread out, everyone had a seat, and we had nice air conditioning and bathrooms,” Byrd said.
Few buyers are actually interested in buying delinquent taxes for the property itself. The taxes are an investment which earn the buyer 1.5 percent a month. Over a year’s time, if taxes are not redeemed, a buyer can make 18 percent on the investment and 36 percent for a two-year investment, Byrd said.
One Memphian, who is a regular buyer at the Marshall County tax sale, said buying the taxes is not always a breeze. Sometimes a bidder is forced to take the tax deed, then discovers a tenant on the land who does not have the money to redeem the taxes, but does not want to move out, he said.
The man said he has $3,000 in one parcel which has a household residing on the property, and he does not want to have to evict the family.
“So those who get caught with a tax deed sometimes have trouble getting their money back,” he said.
This year’s tax sale is the largest on record, superceding the 2006 tax sale which brought in $1,037,205.20 in revenue on 1,978 parcels. And last year’s tax sale outstripped the 2005 tax sale where 1,910 parcels were sold for a total of $987,000. The 2004 tax sale brought in $944,000 on 1,953 parcels.
Those whose parcels were sold to bidders Monday can redeem their property beginning September 2, or anytime thereafter, at the chancery clerk's office, said Chuck Thomas. Property owners have two years to redeem their taxes and pay interest and fines but ultimately the property will be deeded to the buyer in chancery court, if not paid, resulting in the loss of the property to the buyer.
Property taxes come due February 1 each year and owners have until the August tax sale to pay their taxes and late fees before the property is put on the auction block, Byrd said.
“Property owners whose taxes are sold can avoid further cost by redeeming their taxes as soon as possible,” she said.
The largest amount of tax sold on a property last week was about $45,000 while the smallest amount of tax sold was about $3, Byrd said.
“Everything else was in between,” she said.
The county has a total of about 23,000 parcels on the property rolls. About 5 percent of the parcels show up on the delinquent tax roll and are auctioned off yearly, she said.
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