Unpaid property taxes delinquent

Published 4:02 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Unpaid 2017 property tax bills are now considered delinquent, but there is still a chance to take care of the matter before complications arise.

According to Harlan County Clerk Donna Hoskins, the bills have been turned over to be collected as delinquent taxes.

“Now these bills become available on July 27 for the tax sale,” Hoskins explained. “If the taxes are not paid by that date, there are companies that come in and purchase your tax bill.”

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Hoskins said those companies create a tax lien against the property once they’ve purchased the tax bill. She explained once one of the outside companies has purchased the bill, they add on additional fees that must be paid before they will release the lien.

“They’re making money on it,” Hoskins said. “They become the first lien holder, over a mortgage company or any other, against your property.”

Hoskins said it is even possible for the companies to take the property if the bill is not paid.

“They can take your property after a year, going through circuit court,” Hoskins said. “That is a procedure in itself. They force a tax sale. Most of them will hold it longer than a year to accrue more penalties and interest, but that will be up to the particular tax company who purchases the bill.”

Hoskins said there are approximately 2,500 delinquent property tax bills in Harlan County. She pointed out there are ways to protect property from going into the tax sale, including paying the bill in full before the sale or going through the county attorney’s office.

“You can protect your property from being sold in the tax sale after May 30,” Hoskins explained. “You can enter into a contract with the county attorney’s office to make payments.”

The Harlan County Clerk’s Office only accepts payment in full, partial payments must be arranged through the county attorney’s office, Hoskins said.

Hoskins said the county attorney’s office will send letters to delinquent taxpayers explaining their options.

“We want to protect the landowner and protect their property from having a lien taken against it,” Hoskins said.

Hoskins said names of delinquent taxpayers must be published in the newspaper one month before the tax sale.

For more information, call the Harlan County Clerk’s Office at 606-573-3636.