House Bill 1465 allows counties to withhold properties from tax sale that have less than $750 in fees and taxes due on the property. This would be an increase in that figure from $250 for most jurisdictions. Tax sale is an effective last resort to collect overdue bills, but it is also a lengthy and arduous process for all involved. Counties have a vested interest in seeking to maintain continuity with properties that they often find frequently in tax sale. For property owners that owe a relatively small amount of fees on the property, it is best for all parties to work together to rectify the situation in a timely manner and avoid tax sale.
MACo submitted written testimony in support of HB 1465 to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on March 27, 2018. The bill passed the House 136-0.
From MACo Testimony:
Counties find tax sale as an effective means of last resort to collect overdue tax bills and other fees owed local governments. Of course, no county wants to send any property to tax sale if it can be avoided. All parties involved would strongly prefer that homeowners receive all counseling, education, information, and support which may be available to them, and more time when appropriate, to help them pay on time and avoid going through tax sale. To that end, MACo supports this bill as a wise approach to facilitating access to support services at the time when it is most helpful.”
For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.