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Did you know your tax bill can be sold without notice?

Be warned, the record owner of property does not have to receive notice that the Sheriff is selling tax bills that give a third party a lien on your property. KRS 134 must be modified to require that notice of delinquent tax bills be mailed to the actual record property owner before any tax bill may be sold to a third party. The tax bill only has to be mailed to the record owner as of January 1 of the tax year in which the tax is imposed.

This is important because once these tax bills are sold to third parties you are on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars for minor tax bills. It is not the 12 percent interest that the purchaser collects that hurts. It is the outrageous attorney fees that our legislature says we have to pay even though we are not given notice that any taxes are owed. These attorney fees are imposed even if it only takes a letter to the landowner to collect the tax and interest.

In my case, property was purchased and placed on record in June, 2007. One year later, in June, 2008, the tax bills for 2006 and 2007 are purchased by my friend, Larry Tolliver. We had no notice that any taxes were owed. Total taxes for two years amounted to $140. The tax bills were sent to the prior owners who had never paid any taxes. We attempted to pay the back taxes as part of the purchase and worked with the County Court Clerk and the Revenue Cabinet to determine the actual taxes owed as of June, 2007.

In September, 2011, we received a very curt letter saying that Mr. Tolliver had purchased a tax bill and now claimed a lien on our property. How can that be? We paid the 2008, 2009, and 2010 taxes and had received no notice of any other taxes owed. Send us $600 and keep your mouth shut was the answer.

It appears that our legislators, in their infinite wisdom passed a law allowing third parties to purchase tax liens on property without the record owner being given notice that any taxes are owed. I complained to the powers in Frankfort and was told to send the facts and ask that the law be changed. I did and I now encourage you to do the same. The change that needs to be made is as follows:

Any purchaser of a tax bill can collect interest only unless the actual owner of the property has been notified of the tax bill and given 30 days to pay same. If this notice did not happen prior to the purchase of the tax bill, the record owner must be given 30 days to pay the tax bill plus accrued interest before any attorney fees or cost are attached to the tax bill.

The people to contact if you agree with my position are:

1. Governor Steve Beshear, 700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601;

2. Senator Johnny Ray Turner, 702 Capitol Avenue, Annex Room 254, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601;

3. Representative Leslie Combs, 702 Capitol Avenue, Annex Room 373, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

4. Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward, 156 Main Street, Suite 107, Whitesburg, Kentucky 41858;

5. Wayne Gunnell, Policy Advisor, and David L. Gordon, Executive Director, Office of Property Valuation, 501 High Street, Frankfort, Kentucky 40620.

If you have a property tax case that has the possibility of a legitimate defense against any of these third party purchasers, contact me for a free consultation. I will work at a reduced rate to assist you to stand up to these bullies. JAMES A. HUBBARD Whitesburg

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