Photo by Sue Watson
The Marshall County tax collector’s office is getting ready for the 2016 tax lien sale. Pictured are collector Betty Byrd (front) and office manager Lynn Shaw.
Tax sale going online
This year, for the first time ever, Marshall County will conduct its tax lien sale online, according to tax collector Betty Byrd.
“The tax lien sales by county are not statewide but most counties are going to it now,” Byrd said. “All bidding will take place online.”
Training classes for bidders are available online at training.govease.com or during a webinar put on by GovEase and Byrd’s office prior to the day of the sale. The sale is August 28, starting at 8:30 a.m.
Property owners who have not yet paid their 2016 land property taxes have until 5 p.m. August 25 to do so in the tax office in Holly Springs at 103 South Market Street or at the Byhalia substation at 1311 Highway 309 North. Those who pay their 2016 taxes by August 25 can avoid having their parcels going through the tax lien sale.
The online bidding process means people will use the computer (any device such as a smart phone, computer or a tablet) to go to govease.com to register as a bidder or buyer.
The person will then come to the Marshall County Tax Collector’s office to be approved as a buyer. They will leave a signed blank check with the tax collector’s office.
“After we close out the sale and get the balance, the checks will be deposited in the tax collector’s account at First State Bank,” Byrd said.
“GovEase and myself are hosting a live webinar in Courtroom B (on South Market between the board room and the county administrator’s office) on August 17 at 2 p.m.,” Byrd said. “I’ve sent out letters to all my last year buyers, but I want the word out that anyone who wants to bid may come to the webinar.”
Online web training is available to the public daily.
Bidders may take the online training class for bidders in the comfort of their home or office or anywhere in the world where the Internet can be accessed. Training online at govease.com/ or at training.govease.com can be done from anywhere at anytime.
“I will assist anyone who needs help registering for the tax sale in my office during regular hours and also on the day of the sale (August 28),” Byrd said. “The sale goes live at 8:30 a.m and closes at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28. If any parcels remain to be sold, the sale takes up the next day and from day to day until all parcels are sold.”
Registration for the tax lien sale began July 31.
After a bidder has registered, been approved by the tax collector and left a signed blank check, a bidder can pre-bid an overpayment up to an overbid of $100 on any parcel until the day of the sale (August 28).
On the day of the sale, the parcels are bid online in the order of their listing (usually as listed in The South Reporter). When a parcel comes up for bid, if no bidding or overbidding activity takes place for 10 seconds, the bid on that parcel will time out and the parcel is sold to the highest bidder.
For individuals who want to keep track of their bids, a dashboard is set up on the govease.com site. Bidders can see all their own activity in Marshall County or any other county the website is hosting to see how much money they have on the table in real time.
Enter maximum bids ahead of time to streamline the bidding process.
If a bidder wants to view the parcel of property they can view it on Google Streetview Integration instantly which shows pictures of the parcel of interest and surrounding properties. Viewing the parcels is available at the govease.com site anytime once the parcel has been loaded on govease.com.
Property tax roll data can be accessed instantly on govease.com.
Bidders can preview these properties prior to the day of the sale and pre-bid on them as well.
The bidder can also connect with the property assessment to see the number of acres in the parcel, any buildings and any improvements on the parcel at the govease.com site. The assessed value for the 2016 assessments will also be listed for the parcel.
“I think it’s going to streamline everything,” Byrd said. “It’s the only fair way to do it this day and time. Not to mention, the legislation for the tax sales is meant to make tax sales competitive.”
Making the county money
Overbidding makes the county money at the tax lien sale as well as collects taxes owed through the sale. The overbidding helps all Marshall County taxpayers.
“Last year we had about $85,000 in overbids,” Byrd said. “With that (overbidding) figured in the budget for fiscal year 2018, everybody benefits.”
Lee County, for example, made $292,000 in overbids prior to using the online bid system.
The first year Lee County went to the online tax sale, the overbids came to $442,000, Byrd said.
Online bidding is more competitive because it opens the sale up to more people, she said.
“That’s more county revenue the taxpayers do not have to make up,” Byrd said. “Overbids are monies that would have to be levied in the FY 2018 budget.”
And many of the bidders in Marshall County’s tax lien sale are big investment companies who are not located in Marshall County.
“Tax sales are a big business, now,” Byrd said.
To register as a bidder now, visit www.govease.com/auctions. To sign up for training class online, visit training.govease.com or visit govease.com/help.
Remember, bidders must first register online and then arrange for payment and verify registration with the tax collector in Marshall County prior to any bidding.