- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - Delinquent taxes on properties in Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties will soon be up for purchase.

The Commercial Dispatch (https://bit.ly/2aMGioq) reports both counties will hold sales on the tax liens of delinquent properties on Aug. 29.

In Lowndes County, the sale will be at the Trotter Convention Center in downtown Columbus. In Oktibbeha County, it will be held in the courthouse in Starkville.

According to Lowndes County Tax Assessor Greg Andrews people have between December and Aug. 26 to pay their taxes. Of about 33,000 parcels in that county, he says about 2,200 will be in the sale. Andrews says that’s about $2 million in property taxes up for sale.

Oktibbeha County Tax Collector Allen Morgan says the county should have between $800,000 and $900,000 in taxes up for sale.

After the taxes are bought, an owner has up to two years to redeem the property by paying the delinquent taxes. If the owner does redeem the property, then the county returns the buyer’s money, plus 1.5 percent monthly interest - 18 percent a year - it accrues for up to two years.

Both Andrews and Morgan said most, if not all, of the property taxes up for sale are purchased. Those that aren’t purchased could be returned to the state, or tied up in bankruptcy.

Andrews said it’s possible, but uncommon, for someone to assume ownership of a property after buying the taxes.

“Ninety-nine percent invest for interest, not ownership,” Andrews said.

However, if the two-year period passes without the property owner redeeming the property, the buyer can assume ownership by getting a tax deed from the chancery clerk’s office.

While ownership is possible, Andrews said it’s a slow process.

“There’s a perception from the general public that you can go in there and pay someone’s taxes and it’s yours,” he said. “That’s not the case. It takes that two-year redemption period.”


Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com

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