Property owners could lose their land if taxes are not paid

Published 9:39 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Property owners behind on 2014 taxes could risk losing their land if they’re not square with the county before Aug. 31.

The deadline to pay overdue taxes, penalties and interest accrued from 2014 is 5 p.m. on the last day of August, Lincoln County Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop said.

Landowners must pay the taxes owed and penalties as well as interest of 1.5 percent per month or 18 percent for the year.

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According to law, notifications have been sent out by certified mail, on-site notices have been given out by sheriff’s deputies and a notice was published once in The Daily Leader.

Since June, members of Bishop’s staff have also been calling those who are behind to remind them they’re delinquent for 2014, though that’s not required of them by law.

“There are a lot times calling has helped a landowner save their property,” he said. “It’s just something we do to try to help.”

Bishop encourages those who owe taxes to pay them before the deadline.

“They’ll wait until the last minute, then the line is wrapped around outside,” he said. “You need to come on in and get it taken care of it if at all possible.”

The Lincoln County Tax Collector’s office holds a land sale each year for delinquent properties. Bidders who have paid the taxes each year on any delinquent 2014 properties can request ownership of that property, Bishop said.

“If you don’t pay them by the end of the month, the person who had been paying it — investing in that property — can get it,” he said. “If you don’t pay, you’ll either have to negotiate with them for the property, or that person who has been paying the property tax can request the tax deed and we have to give it to them. It’s a chancery court matter.”

Delinquent property taxes can be paid in the records room of Bishop’s office, which is located downstairs in the Lincoln County Government Complex.

“If they can come in and at least pay 2014, they’ll be covered for another year,” he said.

Bishop’s office takes debit or credit cards, cash or certified checks. Delinquent taxes cannot be paid with personal checks, he said.

Property tax revenues are used to support county and city governments, and local school districts. A significant portion of the county’s revenue is derived from property tax.