With foreclosure rates on the rise, Webster County Treasurer Jan Horton is encouraging homeowners who are concerned about making their tax payments to drop by her office.
Property owners have until Sept. 30 to pay the first half of their taxes for fiscal year 2010, which begins July 1.
Horton said her office will accept partial payments from now until September.
"People can come in every month, or twice a month, if they want," she said. "We'll put whatever money they pay toward their taxes."
Offering the installment plan is a way to help people who might not be able to absorb the blow of a larger payment, Horton said.
For those who aren't paid up by deadline, delinquent taxes accrue interest at a rate of 1.5 percent per month.
By Iowa law, every third Monday of June unpaid property tax revenues are offered at tax sale. Each parcel is offered for exactly the amount of taxes, interest and costs due, plus a $20 certificate fee. Winning bidders receive a certificate and a tax sale deed to the property. This year's tax sale will be June 15. To keep property in Webster County out of the tax sale, property taxes must be paid by 4:30 p.m. June 12.
Sources: Iowa State County Treasurers' Association, Webster County Treasurer
At the end of the fiscal year, outstanding property taxes are offered at tax sale, which, by Iowa law, is held the third Monday in June.
This year, that falls on June 15.
"People can still pay their taxes at my office until 4:30 p.m. on June 12," Horton said. "That will keep their name off the (delinquent) tax rolls."
Past that point, Horton said, if fees aren't paid, the property in question will go up for tax sale.
Each parcel is offered for exactly the amount of taxes, interest and costs due, plus a $20 certificate fee. Through the sale, winning bidders receive a certificate and, eventually, a tax sale deed to the property in question.
Horton said she urges anyone facing financial difficulty to contact her office.
"We are willing to work with them to do what we can," said Horton. "I don't want to see anyone lose their house."
At present, approximately 50 families are seeking foreclosure counseling assistance from the Fort Dodge Housing Agency, said counselor Audra McKinney.
"People who can get credits on their property taxes sometimes don't get them," she said.
For example, the Homestead Credit is available to property owners who are residents of Iowa who live on the property on July 1 and for at least six months of every year. People serving in the military and living in nursing homes who would otherwise qualify are exempt from having to live on the property.
Homestead Credit applications can be made at the county assessor's office.
Other tax credits are based on income and disability qualifications, McKinney said.
Contact Jesse Helling at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org