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Strategic approach used for collecting tax delinquencies

Over the past eighteen months, the pandemic has brought many challenges. For some, one of these challenges is the ability to pay bills. One of the county prosecutor’s many duties is representation of the county treasurer in the collection of delinquent real estate and manufactured home taxes. This is not a duty that our office takes lightly, as schools and other political subdivisions within our county rely heavily on revenue derived from real estate and manufactured home taxes.

Recently, our office has coordinated with the county treasurer to adopt a strategic approach to dealing with delinquent properties. As a result of these efforts, the amount of delinquent real estate taxes owed to the county is the lowest it has been in years.

Throughout 2021, the prosecutor’s office has worked tirelessly to collect on the backlog of delinquent manufactured home and real estate taxes in Columbiana County. All of the properties foreclosed upon in 2020 and 2021 have had delinquencies that pre-date the ongoing pandemic. This year alone, our office has foreclosed on over $1.3 million in past due manufactured home and real estate taxes. Surprisingly, over 40% of all foreclosure cases filed this year either have resulted in the outstanding taxes being paid in full, or the owner entering into a payment plan with the county treasurer.

It is important to note that foreclosures filed by the county prosecutor to collect delinquent real estate or manufactured home taxes do not seek personal judgment against owners of the property. This means that the real estate or manufactured home will be sold to pay the outstanding taxes and other costs associated with the foreclosure case. If a property does not sell, it is forfeited to the state of Ohio and set for sale again at the county auditor’s sale. You have surely seen notices of these sales in the paper or posted in the courthouse.

Records show that many property owners have waited until a foreclosure was filed against them to explore their payment options with the county. Rather than wait for this costly eventuality, we encourage those who are having trouble paying their real estate and manufactured home taxes to explore their payment options with the county treasurer in advance.

While it is generally in the treasurer’s discretion whether to enter into a payment plan, property owners are typically afforded at least one opportunity to enter into a payment plan when their real estate and manufactured taxes become delinquent. This advance effort will save hundreds, if not thousands, in penalties and fees over simply waiting for the foreclosure process to begin. You can reach the treasurer’s office at 330-424-9514.

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