The Commissioner of State Lands office conducted an auction of Cleburne County tax-delinquent properties recently at the Heber Springs Community Center.
The Commissioner of State Lands office conducted an auction of Cleburne County tax-delinquent properties recently at the Heber Springs Community Center. A total of 28 interested bidders attended the sale, which is held annually by the state to dispose of land on which the taxes have been past due over two years. The State Land Office reported the sale of 19 parcels collecting $193,645.50 in revenue for Cleburne County and state government. The Land Commissioner’s office conducts one tax-delinquent land sale per county each year. “A small percentage of certified parcels make it to public auction because a majority of the properties certified to our office are redeemed, which means that the back taxes are paid by the original owner,” according to Commissioner Thurston. While redemption of property is the preferred method of disposing of tax-delinquent lands, Thurston notes the important role of land sales in returning inactive parcels to the tax rolls. Tax delinquent property may be purchased at auction by a registered bidder for no less than a minimum bid which represents the assessed value of the property, plus all taxes, penalties, and interest due. Registration to bid at land sales is free. Upon sale of tax-delinquent property, the Commissioner issues a limited warranty deed to the highest bidder. Thurston points out that the state offers a 30-day redemption period for payment after the sale. If the original owner pays the back taxes and penalties during the redemption period, the purchaser is refunded the full purchase price paid. Thurston’s office returns delinquent tax and interest collected, whether through redemption or sale, to the county taxing unit just as if the money had been originally collected there. “In 2011, we returned over $20.4 million to school districts and county governments. Stable revenues for the public schools are ensured through this process,” Thurston added. Interested Arkansas residents may contact the State Land Office by phone at 501-324-9422, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to the Catalog of Tax Delinquent Lands, a free quarterly publication listing all parcels offered for sale at auction.