Delinquent Real Estate Taxes Up

Delinquent real estate taxes increased slightly over 5 percent in Tulsa County this year when compared to the same time a year ago, but a county official stopped short of attributing it to the economy.
Delinquencies have risen by fractions of percentage points each year since 2005.
The 2009 delinquent tax list will be published in the Tulsa Daily Commerce and Legal News on September 4 and September 11.
Steve Blue, Tulsa County Treasurer first deputy, said there were 12,965 delinquencies as of July 31 or 5.11 percent of the 253,619 pieces of taxable real estate.
As of July 31, 2008, there were 10,413 delinquencies or 4.16 percent of the 250,073 pieces of taxable real estate.
The two latest years are noticeably higher.
In 2007 there were 8,832 delinquencies or 3.6 percent of the 245,572 pieces of taxable property. That was up slightly from 2006 when there were 8,481 property owners failed to pay the required taxes. That was 3.5 percent of the 242,653 pieces of taxable real estate.
In 2005, only 3.44 percent or 8,259 parcels were delinquent out of 240,231 parcels on the role that year.
‘‘I would not state to the affirmative that property tax delinquency increases were due to the economy even though that topic has been in the news a lot,’’ Blue said. It also is hard to tell from the numbers the value of the real estate where there are delinquencies. Some could be the lower valued properties that no one wants.
Other delinquencies could be the result of people being impacted by their economic situation because they lost their job.
In the past, the annual tax lien sale occurred the first Monday in October and that resulted in some payments being received just prior to that event, he said. That was done away with and the last sale was held in October, 2007.
‘‘We collect delinquent property taxes every working day of the year, Blue said. Statements are sent to owners of the real estate as a reminder the taxes are due and must be paid. That action is taken in addition to the annual publications.
Annual real estate tax statements are mailed to property owners during November, Blue said. They have from the receipt of the statement until March 15 to make the full payment.
State law provides that half the property taxes must be paid by December 31. The balance is due by March 15. Oklahoma’s ad valorem tax code provides for the payments to be split only in that manner, Blue said. Generally these funds come from escrow accounts held by their mortgage or people ‘‘squirrel money away’’ in their sock for the day the funds are needed.
However, if the Dec. 31 deadline is missed, all taxes are delinquent and become due on Jan. 1.
No monthly payments are accepted, Blue said. If they were, it would increase the cost of county government dramatically.
Think about it, he continued. If monthly payments were accepted and an individual was on time faithfully, then missed the final one of the year, would it make sense to list them as delinquent for 1/12th of the taxes due?
The bottom line is a everyone must follow the deadlines when making ad valorem tax payments. The law is clear on that issue.



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