Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for January 13, 2010
Digging deeper into Kane County's delinquent taxes
By state statute, property taxes are due on or before November 30 of the taxing year. If payment is postmarked after the due date, the greater of a 2% or $10.00 minimum penalty per tax notice will be added to the tax amount.
Each year a delinquent tax listing is advertised in the newspaper, specifying properties with unpaid current year tax assessments. The unpaid tax and penalties are assessed as a lien, if not paid in full by January 1.
Kane County Treasurer Georgia Baca stated there were 2661 delinquent tax accounts for the year 2009, totaling $2,123,204.10.
According to Kane County Clerk/Auditor Karla Johnson, there may be some contributing factors to this figure, which may decrease the total amount daily.
People may have paid the tax due along with the late fees. People may not have gotten the tax notice on time due to address changes, living out of state, on vacation, or due to the economy-just not having have the money to pay by the due date and decide to pay late.
The treasurer deposits the received tax payments into a tax account, and then disburses checks by “Tax Rate” into the “Tax Levied” accounts listed on the front of the tax bill.
A starred **PRIOR TAX DELINQUENT ** printed on the tax notice next to the Total Owed, indicates there are prior year delinquent taxes pending on the property. Contact the County Treasurer’s office for the amount of the unpaid taxes. (See the back of the tax notice).
Baca said the total balance due for the 2740 delinquent accounts from 2003 to 2009 is $3,438,008.28.
Johnson explained the county’s overall recovery rate of delinquent taxes is 89% to 92%. It just takes time. Every effort is made to track the owners. Johnson mentioned one possible problem is miscommunication within families. For example, the parents have not informed family members of property owned, if a parent dies the family may be unaware of any property owned and where it is recorded and of taxes due.
Johnson said, “Kane County has never sold a home out from under of anybody.”
Delinquent taxes have gradually increased in the past six years. The economy slow down and property sales dropping dramatically may be major factors.
Delinquent taxes shall bear an interest rate of 6.25 from the date of delinquency until they are paid plus whatever penalties and administrative costs accrued. If the delinquent taxes have not been paid for a period of four years, the county may foreclose the lien by an action in the district court or put the property up for public auction. This is called the “Tax Sale”. (Utah State Legislature Codes 59-2-1302, 59-2-1353).
In the fifth year, the county offers the property to the public for a final “Tax Sale.” The property is then deeded to the successful bidder after the final tax sale is completed. Johnson said the five year collection rate is 90.18%
Large landholders, developers, may choose to delay paying the property taxes until the maximum time frame allowed has expired. In the meantime this allows them to sell the property, with the new owners paying the taxes etc. If the property is not sold it becomes the responsibility of the developer or owners to pay all accrued interest, penalties and administrative costs, to redeem the property.
The commissioners have allowed for delinquent taxes in the budget. Who misses out by delinquent taxes? The County General Fund, County G.O. Bond, Kane County School District, Multi County A & C, Local A & C, State School Levy, County Health, County Library, Kane Co Water Cons. and all cities and towns. (See the front of the tax notice).
Will future property taxes have to be raised to compensate for the loss? What is the solution?
Johnson explained there is a new state law to become effective in 2010 that changes the “Low Rate Calculation.”