By PETER HUSSMANN
Delinquent property tax payers have until the end of the business day today to make payment at the Jasper County Courthouse or until midnight Sunday, June 17, over the Internet or their properties will be offered at the annual tax sale set for Monday at the Newton DMACC Conference.
Jasper County Treasurer Doug Bishop said a total of 426 property parcels in the county are currently set to be offered for sale to 83 bidders registered for Monday's 1 p.m. sale. The total value of unpaid taxes stands at $489,120.83.
The number of parcels to be offered, however, will drop significantly as delinquent property tax payers rush to make payments. Last year at this time before the sale, there were a total of 594 parcels with unpaid taxes of $630,360.21 ready to be sold. The sale resulted in the sale of 325 parcels with $377,135.51 in property taxes collected. A number of parcels, mainly mobile homes, typically go unsold.
"As always, there will be a rush of Internet payments," Bishop said. "We will stop accepting Internet payments at midnight Sunday, June 17."
County tax sales are held on the third Monday in June each year in counties across Iowa. The sales enable counties to collect unpaid taxes by investors willing to put up the cash in return for a solid rate of return, 2 percent per month or 24 percent a year. The money collected at the tax sale is subsequently distributed to the taxing jurisdictions in which the parcels sit - local school districts, cities and the county.
Iowa's tax sales draw interest from investors around the country. The lure is the high rate of return on what's typically considered a safe investment. A property owner will usually make their delinquent tax payment, with the money - including the 2 percent penalty compounded monthly - going to the holder of tax sale certificate.
And should a property owner continue to remain derelict in their property tax paying responsibilities for a period of two years, the certificate holder who has continued to make the tax payments can take action that leads them to becoming the owner of the property, a relatively rare occurence but one Bishop said happens a few times a year.
Delinquent tax payments may be made by cash, money order or credit card at the Jasper County Treasurer's Office at the courthouse or online here.