All personal property tax is delinquent when any installment is not paid on time. The responsible taxpayer must be served with a warrant when the tax becomes delinquent. In Polk County, warrants are routinely served after the February 15th payment date. Real property tax is delinquent if not paid by May 15. Foreclosure proceedings on real property begin when taxes have been delinquent for three years.
Foreclosure is a process used by the County to enforce payment of real property taxes. If foreclosure is completed, the property on which the delinquent taxes are unpaid will be deeded to the County. Taxes on real property become delinquent May 16 in the tax year they are due. Three years after the date of delinquency, the property is subject to foreclosure. Thus, property on which taxes became delinquent on May 16, 2011 (2010-2011 tax year), would be subject to foreclosure on May 16, 2014. The document that identifies all property subject to foreclosure is the Foreclosure List. The Foreclosure List is to be prepared by the Tax Collector within two months after the earliest date of delinquency. This means the list is generated on or before July 16. It includes:
• The names of the person(s) appearing in the latest tax roll as owner(s) of the tax-delinquent properties.
• A description of each such property as it appears in the latest tax roll.
• The year or years for which taxes are delinquent on each property.
• The principal amount of delinquent taxes for each year and the amount of accrued interest to the date of publication.
When the list is prepared, a Notice of Foreclosure is sent by both regular first class and certified mail to all owners of record. This mailing notifies the owner that payment of the taxes that cause foreclosure are required prior to the publication date to remove the property from foreclosure.
As payments are received, properties are removed from the Foreclosure List. On or about August 16, the resulting list is published in the Polk County Itemizer-Observer, the “newspaper of general circulation in the county” selected by the Polk County Board of Commissioners for this type of publication. On the publication date, the County also files an Application for Judgment and Decree with the Circuit Court and adds a foreclosure penalty (5% of the total taxes and interests due) to each affected tax account. These simultaneous actions activate the foreclosure proceedings.
Within 30 days of the publication, any person with an interest in a property on the Foreclosure List may file an “answer and defense” with the Circuit Court objecting to the inclusion of the property in the proceedings. Also, during this period before “final judgment”, properties can be removed from the proceedings by paying the tax and interest in the year(s) that put the property into foreclosure, plus the 5% penalty.
Granting the Judgment and Decree occurs not less than 30 days after publication or, if an objection was filed, after the summary hearing on the objection is held. Upon the issuing of the Judgment and Decree, the property is “sold” to the County and a two-year redemption period begins.
During the two-year redemption period, the property can be redeemed by payment of:
• the full amount of taxes as shown in the published foreclosure list and accrued interest on those taxes,
• the 5% penalty,
• interest since the date of final judgment in the amount of 9% per year calculated daily from the date of judgment and decree,
• and a fee of not less than $50.00. The fee is $50 if the property is redeemed prior to the title search required during the redemption period. If the property is redeemed after the title search, the fee will be the greater of $50 or the actual cost of the title search.
There is no provision for partial payment during the redemption period, nor can the Tax Collector accept “installment payments” to redeem the property.
The County takes title to those properties not redeemed by the end of the redemption period free and clear of all liens and encumbrances, except assessments levied by a municipal corporation for local improvements to the property.
After the County takes title, foreclosed properties are sold by the County. To view a list of current properties for sale, please view Foreclosed Properties for Sale.