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Thousands Try To Put Off Taxes

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August 16, 2010

This is one of those auctions most of us want to avoid unless we’re buyers like these folks are.

It’s the annual sheriff’s tax sale. Property owners who fail to pay the taxman wind up having their property seized and sold to the highest bidder.

And by law, the current list of tax delinquents is published three times in August. The names are of those delinquent on last year’s real estate taxes. About 15,000 individual and commercial properties are listed. It would be easy to think the number of delinquencies has increased because of the economy, but that’s not the case yet.

"We actually have fewer properties this year which have not paid their taxes, although the dollar amount is a little bit more. It's roughly a million dollars more in unpaid taxes compared to this time last year," Sedgwick County Treasurer, Ron Estes said.

Estes says economic problems can lead to tax delinquencies

"Obviously with the economy you're concerned about that, that people are going through tough times," Estes said.

And these sales can be a lagging indicator of what’s going on. Here’s why.

Properties sold now where tax delinquent starting in 2005, well before the local economy tanked. Even so, Estes isn’t anticipating a large increase in these delinquencies

"The one thing I would anticipate over the next few years is that the valuations aren't going to go up," Estes said.


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