What Happens if I Can’t Pay My Property Taxes?

The information below is provided for informational purposes only, as a service to property owners. This is a very short condensation of a very complicated process. All procedures and timelines are specified by state statute and cannot be altered by the County Treasurer. Dates, percentages and amounts are approximate. The Boone County Treasurer’s Office assumes no responsibility for its accuracy or completeness.

For every parcel on which the property taxes are not paid in full, the following chain of events will ensue until all taxes, penalties and costs are paid. “Deadline” refers to the second installment deadline, normally September 1.

One day after deadline: 1.5% penalty is added to delinquent 2nd installments. The penalty on each installment will continue to increase at the rate of 1.5% per month, according to their respective due dates, until paid or sold at tax sale.

Two weeks after deadline: A delinquency notice will be sent from the Boone County Treasurer to property owners via certified mail. A $10.00 delinquency fee is added. This notice advises of the payment deadline to avoid publication, warns that unpaid taxes will be sold at tax sale and lists the scheduled date of the tax sale.

Six weeks after deadline: A list of delinquent parcel numbers, owners’ names and amounts owed are published in a local newspaper.

Eight weeks after deadline: A tax sale is held at the Boone County Administration Campus. Investors pay the delinquent taxes and penalties, plus approximately $50.00 additional fees, in exchange for a tax lien on each parcel they purchase. Ownership of the parcel does not change at this time.

Within 4 ½ months after tax sale: Property owners will receive a “take notice” via certified mail from the County Clerk on behalf of the tax buyer. The take notice provides details of all taxes, penalties and costs owed. The penalty that is added can be as high as 18%. This penalty continues to increase up to 18% every 6 months.

Approximately 2 years after tax sale: Property owners are notified via certified mail from the Circuit Court Clerk and served notice from the County Sheriff, advising them of the tax buyer’s intention to petition the court for tax deed. Notice is also published three times in a local newspaper. Additional costs of approximately $600 are added.

Approximately 2 ½ years after tax sale: The tax buyer can petition the court for a tax deed. Once the court renders judgment, the tax buyer can file a deed and the property and the former property owner could be required to vacate the premises immediately.

Additional notes:
After the tax sale, all redemptions must be made to the County Clerk. There is no need to communicate with the tax buyer. The County Clerk cannot accept “installment plans.” The entire amount owed must be paid in order to redeem the taxes and release the tax lien. The County Clerk requires certified funds (cash, cashier’s check or money order) for tax redemptions.

Mortgage lenders often pay or redeem taxes on behalf of their borrowers. When they do, all taxes, costs and penalties paid by the lender are added to the mortgage balance.

Beware of predatory lenders who offer to loan you the money to redeem your taxes. There are unscrupulous people who acquire lists of sold taxes and use scare tactics to prey on vulnerable property owners.