Bill Sets Unreasonable Requirements on Local Finance Offices

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally yesterday testified in opposition to HB 1050 – Tax Sales – Notices before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill requires county governments to identify and notify any person with a lien on or interest in a property prior to tax sale.

Because counties do not possess the necessary tools to identify all parties with an interest in a property, they would need to hire an outside company to do a title search for each of the properties on the tax sale rolls. Local finance offices indicate costs per county ranging up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per annum.

From the MACo Testimony:

The tax sale process⎯or, more specifically, the potential for a property to go to tax sale⎯ presents a much-needed tool of last resort to ensure that property owners remit payment for their fair share of taxes and charges connected to public services. All property owners deserve full and adequate notice of any collection efforts to collect taxes or charges assessed on the property⎯and as such, every county has procedures to ensure ample notice is provided prior to tax sale.

Under current law, at least 30 days before any property is first advertised for tax sale, counties are required to mail a notice to the person who last appears as owner of the property on the tax rolls. Additionally, counties must publish four notices that the property is slated to go to tax sale: once a week for four successive weeks in one or more newspapers that have a general circulation in the county in which the property is located.

Because counties do not possess the necessary tools to identify all parties with an interest in a property, they would need to hire an outside company do a title search for each of the properties on the tax sale rolls. Local finance offices indicate costs per county ranging up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per annum.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2021 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.

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