The Herald Bulletin

October 10, 2013

Tuesday sale nets county unpaid property taxes

By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Tuesday's tax sale yielded Madison County $772,575 in delinquent property taxes and penalties, the second lowest amount recouped since the annual sale resumed in 2010 after a five-year hiatus, said County Auditor Jane Lyons.

In 2012, the county collected nearly $968,000; the figures for 2011 and 2010 were $592,280 and $1.2 million respectively.

In Indiana, the county treasurer and auditor are required to sell tax liens on delinquent properties that remain unpaid from the prior year's spring installment.

More than 1,000 property owners paid their taxes leading up to the sale, including 62 who paid at the last minute.

Investors purchased 417 properties. Because tax sales are essentially an auction where potential buyers bid against one another, the actual amount of money collected at Tuesday's sale through overbidding totaled nearly $4.5 million, Lyons said.

That money will be held in a special Tax Sale Surplus Fund. If individual properties are redeemed — delinquent taxpayers have one year from the tax sale to do that — buyers earn interest on the total amount of they paid for the property.

After three years, money in the surplus fund can be transferred to the county's general fund. From the sale in 2010, for example, there is about $160,000 that will be available for transfer in 2014, Lyons said. About $1 million will be available in 2015 and 2016, from previous sales.

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The next step Assuming the taxes remain unpaid on the 1,449 properties that weren't purchased at Tuesday's sale, they will be offered for sale at a Commissioners Certificate Sale early next year, according to County Auditor Jane Lyons. Typically, the commissioners set the price on those properties at 10 percent of the unpaid property taxes, she said, or a $100 flat fee. If the properties don't sell there and the taxes remain unpaid, they will be placed on the tax sale list in 2014. Source: Madison County Auditor