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County making switch to property tax lien auctions

Beginning in June 2021, The Pike County tax collecting official will have the authority to auction and sell tax liens on properties for which ad valorem property taxes are delinquent.

Pike County Revenue Commissioner Curtis Blair said what that means is that no property will be sold on the courthouse steps.

“We have been in contact with other counties that have changed the format of sale to tax lien auction,” Blair said. “We have been looking at this format for a while and have been listening to what is being said by other counties. We decided to try it here in Pike County. If we don’t like it, and I think we will, then we can go back to the property sale.”

Blair said the tax lien auction and sale will benefit both the property owner whose taxes are delinquent and as well as the bidders.

Bidders will purchase the tax liens for the property in the amount of past due taxes, which equals the principal amount of the delinquent taxes, the amount of accrued and accruing interest and penalties, fees and costs proposed through the day of the tax auction or sale, Blair said.

“Purchasers will bid down the interest rate they are willing to accept on their purchase of a tax lien starting at 12 percent,” Blair said. “Competing bidders will continue to bid down the interest rate until no bidder continues to bid lower or until the interest rate reaches zero.”

Within 10 days of a completed tax lien auction or sale, Blair said notice will be sent to the property owner for whom the property was assessed informing the property owner(s) that the tax lien had been auctioned.

“The tax lien certificate purchaser will have the first right to purchase the tax lien of the delinquency on the property and will be entitled to the same interest rate,” Blair said. “If the property owner was to pay current year property taxes based on the tax notice they received, the tax lien must be satisfied on behalf of the tax lien certificate holder before current year taxes can be paid.”

Property tax liens may be redeemed in several ways, including the owner and any mortgagee or purchaser of the property or any portion of the property.

Blair said the tax lien auction and sale is new to his office.

“We have been to classes and also listened to what other counties are saying and they are satisfied with the tax lien auction and sale,” he said. “We feel confident that we are going to also be satisfied. The tax lien auction will be in the best interest of both the property owner and the tax lien purchaser.”