September 12, 2013

Cass tax sale sees slight increase from last year

Sale of 45 parcels nets more than $470,000.

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune

---- — Figures from the 2013 Cass County delinquent property tax sale held Monday resulted in a slight rise from last year.

This year, 45 parcels were sold out of the 188 available in the sale, up from the 38 that sold out of last year’s 174. Twenty bidders turned out for the sale, up slightly from last year’s 18.

Both of these increases corresponded with the total amount of money the sale brought in, as this year saw a collection of $472,428, up about $65,000 from last year’s $407,412.

The tax sale was conducted by Cass County Auditor Vaneen Ide, Cass County Treasurer Kathy Adair and Indianapolis-based SRI Incorporated, a press release stated.

“It is our ultimate goal to return these properties to the tax rolls as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Ide said in the release. “Property owned by people that pay their property taxes ensure our local government services are fully funded.”

The release goes on to state property tax sales are required in every county and are to include properties whose owners fail to pay property taxes from the previous year’s first property tax bill installment. At the sale, tax liens are sold to the highest bidder to satisfy the tax obligation.

“Tax sales are a necessary function of county government,” Adair said. “It is only fair to people who pay their property taxes every year to pursue those who do not pay.”

The opening bid is the amount of the lien, Ide explained in an interview. When winning bids exceed the amount of the lien, that surplus goes into a separate fund.

“The county does not get that,” Ide said.

Depending on the situation, the original owner has the ability to file a claim with the county to receive part or all of the surplus.

“It depends on how the judge orders it to be done,” Ide said.

The total surplus for this year’s sale amounted to $165,471. Last year, the surplus totaled at $120,400.

The owners of the sold properties have one year to pay delinquent property taxes, costs, penalties and interest to retain the property.

“Anytime between there, the person who owns the property can get it back but they have to pay everything that the person who bid on it has as long as they have all of their paperwork in,” Ide said.

More than 140 parcels went without a buyer at the sale. Ide said these properties will be included in a Cass County commissioners certificate sale in January.

By the numbers Cass County delinquent property tax sale 188 Parcels 45 Parcels sold 20 Bidders $472,428 Collected