Thursday, December 12, 2019

Cocke County delinquent property taxes
Each year about five percent of property owners in Cocke County do not pay their property tax. But that means they end up paying interest and penalty fees, or they lose their property. Property is usually sold for back taxes after the property owner has not paid the taxes for two or three years. A delinquent property tax sale was held in Cocke County on October 25, at which time 118 properties were auctioned off. That day a total of about $855,700 was taken in. But during the month of October, prior to the sale, Circuit Court Clerk Kristy Nease collected $335,000 from property owners who did not want to lose their property. In October the county collected $72,000 in interest and penalty fees, on delinquent taxes that totaled nearly $197,000. Most of the properties brought in quite a bit more than was owed in taxes but Clerk Nease says the extra money will not go into the Cocke County coffers. "A large amount of the total brought in from the tax sale, is what we call 'land sale overage'. Imagine the taxes due are $300, but the property brings $3,000 at the auction," says Clerk Nease. So the $2,700 overage at the end of the one year redemption period, goes back to the purchaser if the original owner redeems. If not the original owner is eligible to receive the overage. The original owner has a year in which to redeem the property by paying off the purchase price as well as the interest and penalties. Nease says, if at the end of the year, the original property owner cannot be located, the excess sales price must be turned over to the state in unclaimed funds.

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