Unpaid Taxes Lead to Upcoming Auction

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   There are approximately 123 parcels of land that have unpaid taxes and are scheduled to be sold at the upcoming delinquent tax sale, according to Chassity Kelly, Wayne County’s Clerk and Master. The parcels are being sold for Wayne County, the City of Waynesboro, the City of Collinwood, and the City of Clifton, and are slated to be auctioned off at the Wayne County Criminal Justice Center on April 17, 2020. A legal notice will be published in the Wayne County News before the sale with specific details of the sale. Mrs. Kelly stressed that officials are still hoping owners will pay the taxes before the auction becomes necessary. The parcels of land offered to be sold are for the 2017 tax year as well as any other previous years’ taxes which may still be due.

   “Neither the Clerk and Master, nor any of the governmental entities, want to sell property for delinquent taxes but this is the only way some property taxes get collected,” said Kelly. “A sale for delinquent property taxes is always a ‘last resort’ in the process of tax collection and it would be great if a sale weren’t necessary.” The owners will already have additional fees to pay because interest is added for each month taxes go unpaid past the due date, she added. And now that the taxes have been transferred to her jurisdiction, the owners will have to pay legal fees as well. 

   “Our office, along with other county offices, take several steps to insure property owners are made aware that their land is in danger of being sold,” she said. Notices were sent out in April and May 2019 by certified mail to serve property owners with notice that the delinquent tax suit had been filed in the Clerk and Master’s office by the Wayne County Trustee. Additionally, non-resident owners were sent a notice by certified mail followed by a legal notice published in the Wayne County News for four consecutive weeks for those non-resident owners as well as all other owners that the office was unable to locate. Efforts to find current owners include reviewing information at the Register of Deeds and Property Assessor’s offices, she added, as well as notifying any lien holders on those parcels having recorded liens of the pending sale. 

   Even if the land is sold, owners, lien holders, or those having an equitable interest will have time to redeem the property. “The redemption period is one year,” Mrs. Kelly explained. People interested in bidding should investigate the property before making a purchase. “The Clerk and Master gives no warranties on property bid on or sold at the sale,” she said. “It is the buyer’s responsibility to know what he or she is bidding on.”

   People wanting more information can see Mrs. Kelly at her office in the Wayne County Criminal Justice Center or by calling (931)722-5517.