ANDERSON, Ind. — Madison County will try and sell more than 2,052 properties at a tax sale today in order to collect more than $9.31 million delinquent property taxes.
If previous experience is any guide, however, only a small fraction of the delinquent taxes and special assessments that are owed will be recouped, making tax sale proceeds an unreliable source of revenue, said County Auditor Jane Lyons.
Last year, for example, 2,632 properties were available, but only 345 sold, yielding the county $967,815 in back taxes, she said.
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.
“The purpose of this tax sale is to offer these delinquent properties in order to collect back taxes to help finance local government services,” Lyons said.
In actuality, by the time someone’s property gets to a tax sale, property taxes have likely not been paid for several years, said Glen Luedtke, a client services director for SRI Inc. an Indianapolis-based company founded in 1989 that conducts tax sales and commissioners’ certificate and deed sales for more than 80 counties in Indiana, Michigan and Colorado.
Tax sales are essentially an auction where the minimum bid begins with the amount of taxes due on the property. The amount can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $100,000 in some cases.
According to tax sale documents, an organization called Plummer Enterprises Inc. owes more than $766,000 on a nearly four-acre industrial property at 1817 Locust St. in Anderson.
Luedtke expects about 100 bidders to show up for the sale, which begins at 10 a.m. in the Anderson City Building auditorium.
Although investors who purchase property at tax sales must be prepared to pay the full amount of their purchase, they are not able to take ownership for a year to give those who owe the taxes a chance to pay them.