2013-03-14 / Front Page

Threat of property tax sales prompts some owners to pay

Wilkes County property owners who are delinquent on their property taxes have been coming in and paying up this week since more than 140 properties across Wilkes County were advertised last week to be sold on the courthouse steps in April.

Taxes on at least 10 properties have now been paid up, Wilkes County Tax Commissioner Mary Hubbard said, taking their owners’ names from the required legal notices published in The News-Reporter, which will be repeated in three more issues including this one.

If the property owners do not pay the overdue taxes by Tuesday, April 2, the properties will be sold that day at the Wilkes County courthouse and continuing the following day as needed.

“Owners of the properties can come in and stop their ads from being published in next week’s paper only by paying all past-due taxes and the costs of the ad,” she said. “We’ve had some people come in and pay this week.”

Due to the county having had only temporary tax digests for several years, the delinquent property taxes are from the tax years 2009, 2010, and 2011, with amounts ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Some property owners are overdue on more than one property, Hubbard said.

The tax sale notices should not be a surprise to the owners, who had previously been notified of property taxes due, and have also been notified that the tax Fi Fa has been issued. A fieri facias, abbreviated Fi Fa, is a legal writ of execution after a judgment has been obtained in a legal action for debt.

Even after a property’s tax sale has been advertised for four weeks, Commissioner Hubbard said, the property can be saved. “Property owners have until 10 a.m. the day of the tax sale to pay, but they’ll need to pay the entire deliquent tax amount plus the costs to advertise.”

If a property is sold at the April tax sale, she said, it goes to the high bidder, but the purchasers can’t do anthing with the property for a year. “You can’t do anything with the property, not even cut the grass. The previous owner has a right to redeem their property for one year.”

The properties not sold in April’s tax sale, and those delinquent in paying 2012 taxes, will be advertised for another sale in August.

The delinquent property tax notices begin on page 13 of this issue.

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