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The Levy County Tax Collector's Office is publishing the annual delinquent tax list in the Chiefland Citizen this year.
The 38-page supplement to the Citizen, lists 6,146 properties on which taxes are owed for 2013, down from the 6,188 listed last year. There were 6,796 properties on the list published in 2010 and 6,570 on the list published in 2009 — both at the lowest points in the county's economy.
“I think people are just trying to pay,” said Tax Collector Linda Fugate in a phone interview from a conference this week. “They say that we are rebounding and the market is looking better.”
Fugate said they are trying to hang on to homestead properties and getting rid of unimproved land.
The total real estate taxes to be collected this year are $34,468,272.54, according to Michelle Langford, tax department supervisor in the Levy County Tax Collector's Office. She said via email that the county has collected $29,642,714.39 or 89 percent of the taxes owed.
“That should leave us around $4,825,558.15 to collect in the sale,” Langford said, referring to the upcoming tax certificate sale.
According to the Levy County Tax Collector's website, all unpaid real estate taxes become delinquent on April 1 each year and are assessed a 3-percent penalty added to the taxes.
The delinquent tax list will run in the Citizen in today's (May 8) issue and the May 15 and May 22 issues as required by state law. In addition to the penalty, the advertising cost for a property is also added to the tax bill.
While state law requires a printed copy of the list, the state allows the sale of delinquent tax certificates to be online and on May 8, bidders can go to www.levytaxsale.com and place a bid. The certificate sales will commence on May 30, according to the tax office notice in today's Citizen. Bids start at 18-percent interest and go down with the certificate going to the lowest bidder. But there is a mandatory 5-percent interest charged even when the bid is a lower percentage.
The sale allows buyers to pay the taxes owed in return for a lien on the property. Certificates can be redeemed by a property owner paying the taxes, penalties and interest due. The property owner must redeem the certificate within 22 months, as prescribed by state law, or lose the property at a tax deed sale.
The same advertising is true for tangible personal property taxes that are delinquent on April 1. They carry a 1.5-percent penalty added each month. One difference is the tangible taxes are only listed once in the newspaper and can be found on Page 15A in today's Citizen.
The only properties meant to be left out of the sale are those that have a homestead exemption and the delinquent taxes are less than $100. Those tax certificates are issued to the county at 18-percent interest per year and once the face value and accrued interest exceeding $100, the certificate may be sold.
The lists are also available for 75 cents each at the Williston Pioneer office at 37 S. Main St., Suite F, Williston. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, and 8 a.m. to 4:30 on Friday.
The list is also available for 75 cents each at the Citizen office at 624 W. Park Ave., Chiefland. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
The Citizen is being paid $56,591.70 for the delinquent property list publication and $330 for the tangible property list publication. The money is recovered from the property owners when they pay their tax bills or at the time of the tax deed sale.
The Levy County Commission has set up a rotation for publishing the list among three Levy County newspapers. It is the Chiefland Citizen's turn this year. The last time the Citizen published the list was 2010.