• By Lisa Little
  • Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Advertisement of Delinquent Taxpayers

Approximately 93% of owners of real property in Forsyth County pay their property taxes on time or within 30 days of the due date after a gentle reminder. The remaining 7% are made of people experiencing legitimate financial hardships, title issues, and some who just simply refuse to pay. Whatever the case, North Carolina law requires the annual advertisement of unpaid taxes levied on real property. While it is true that some property owners may be embarrassed to see their names in the newspaper, the advertisement of tax liens is a very serious matter because it marks the initiation of the foreclosure process.

2008 taxes levied on real estate became past due on January 6, 2009. At least three tax notices will have been mailed to the property owners prior to the actual advertisement. Unpaid taxes levied on real estate must be paid not later than February 28, 2009 to avoid advertisement. The actual advertisement in the Winston-Salem Journal and other local newspapers will occur on or about March 20, 2009.

In the case of property which has been conveyed to another, tax notices have been mailed to both the January 1 and new owner of the property. The owner of record as of January 6 is responsible for the payment of taxes. Transfer of ownership relieves the owner of record as of January 1, 2008 of the 2008 tax liability. Proration agreements between buyers and sellers are just that - an agreement between the buyer and seller. As far as the Tax Collector is concerned, the taxes remain unpaid and the January 6, 2009 owner now bears the responsibility for payment according to Session Law 2006-106. The new owner should be concerned, as this advertisement is the first step toward the foreclosure of the tax lien.

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