Don’t lose your property to unpaid taxes

Published 12:07 am Sunday, July 8, 2012

Each year some taxpayers lose their property for failure to pay their delinquent taxes. It is important for individuals to understand the process of taxation and the treatment of delinquent taxes in order to protect their ownership.

The tax assessor is required to annually assess properties within the county and to present assessment rolls to the board of supervisors for adoption. Once those rolls are adopted, they are turned over to the tax collector to collect. Taxpayers can begin to pay taxes for the given year in December of that year. There is no interest charged if the taxes are paid by Jan. 31 of the next year. After Jan. 31, a 1-percent charge is added to the taxes per month until the tax sale in August.

The tax collector is required by law to annually advertise and sell property at a tax sale on the last Monday in August for unpaid taxes for the previous year. As a result of this law, the Adams County tax collector had a land sale on Aug. 30, 2010, for delinquent taxes for the year 2009.

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Once that sale was concluded, the tax collector forwarded the list of delinquent tax properties to the chancery clerk, who receives payments from the delinquent taxpayers to redeem their property from the tax sale. Once the taxes have been turned over the chancery clerk, the interest rate increases to 1 and 1.5 percent per month until paid. Taxpayers have a right to pay and redeem their properties for a period of two years from the date of the sale.

The chancery clerk, by law, is required to notify the taxpayers who have not redeemed their taxes via certified mail, no sooner than 180 days nor less than 60 days, prior to the end of the two year period. The sheriff of the county also attempts to serve the taxpayer. If the first notice to taxpayers is not received by the taxpayer, then the chancery clerk has a responsibility of attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of the taxpayer and send a second notice. The chancery clerk is required to advertise and give notice in the newspaper of a list of remaining delinquent taxpayers at least 45 days prior to the date of the exemption period.

If the property is not redeemed within the two-period, the purchaser at the tax sale is entitled to a tax deed upon request to the chancery clerk. If an individual piece of property did not sell at the tax sale, it is stricken to the State of Mississippi. If the taxes on those pieces of property are not redeemed within the two-year period, a tax deed is executed to the State of Mississippi.

I would encourage all taxpayers to read the notice in the newspaper that shows the delinquent taxes for 2009. Even if you have paid your taxes, perhaps someone you know or a relative of yours could be affected. Notify them of the situation. The last day to pay the 2009 taxes is Aug. 30. Hopefully, there will be fewer properties lost because of failure to pay taxes.


Angela Gibson-Hutchins is the Adams County supervisor for district 3.