Land Commissioner Charlie Daniels conducted an auction of Fulton County tax delinquent properties Dec. 3 at Fulton County Courthouse and reported the sale of 14 parcels, collecting $8,734.95 in revenue for Fulton County and state government.
A total of 12 bidders attended the sale, which is held annually by the state to dispose of land for which taxes have been past due for over four years.
The land commissioner's office conducts one tax delinquent land sale per county each year. Parcels offered for auction Dec. 3 have not been current on real estate taxes since 1997.
"Most of the properties certified to our office are redeemed, meaning the back taxes are paid by the original owner. A very small percentage of our certifications actually make it to public auction," Daniels said.
"For example, in 2001, only 15.98 percent of the dollars we returned to Fulton County originated from the sale of property," Daniels said. While redemption of property is the preferable method of disposing of tax delinquent lands, Daniels noted the important role of land sales in returning inactive parcels to the tax rolls.
Tax delinquent property may be purchased at auction by a registered bidder for no less than the assessed value of the property, plus all taxes, penalties and interest due. Registration to bid at land sales is free.
Upon sale of tax delinquent property, the commissioner issues a limited warranty deed to the highest bidder. Daniels pointed out the state offers a 30-day grace period for payment after the sale. If the original owner takes advantage of the grace period and pays the back taxes, the purchaser is refunded his full bid amount.
Daniels' office returns delinquent taxes and interest collected, whether through redemption or sale, to the county taxing units as if the money had been originally collected there.
"In 2001, we returned nearly $8 million to school districts and county governments. During this year of budget cuts, local governments desperately need that revenue," Daniels said. The State Land Office retains a small penalty and fee from delinquent taxes to fund office operations.
Fulton County has received $282,320.23 in turnback money from Daniel's office since 1988.
Those interested may contact the State Land Office at 501-324-9222 or e-mail email@example.com to subscribe to the Catalog of Tax Delinquent Lands, a quarterly publication listing all parcels to be held for sale at auction. The subscription is free.