02/27/12 To help Hoosiers with delinquent property taxes avoid a tax sale, State Representative Bill Friend (R-Macy) authored a bill that would allow county treasurers to set up a payment plan with a taxpayer. House Bill (HB) 1090 passed the House and Senate unanimously and the bill will now go to conference committee to concur on amendments.

HB 1090 would expand statewide a pilot program that is currently available only in Lake County.  If a taxpayer and county treasurer arrange to pay delinquent property taxes, the county auditor would be able to remove the property from a tax sale.  If the taxpayer breaks the agreement to extend the payments, the property could again go to tax sale.

“The tough economy has made it difficult for many people to keep up with their property taxes,” said Rep. Friend.  “This plan would allow the county treasurer and the taxpayer to make an agreement where everyone benefits.  The government receives the property taxes it needs to function, and people stay in their homes.”

The legislation further permits an amnesty period for fees on late property taxes that were due prior to 2012.  If a taxpayer pays delinquent property taxes before July 1, 2013, penalties and interest may be forgiven by the county treasurer.  The bill also states a county may sell a property in a tax sale once the minimum bid reaches 75 percent of the property’s assessed value.  This helps remove the burden on counties to maintain properties where the overdue taxes exceed the value of the property.

“Hoosiers deserve a second chance to catch up on their property taxes, especially with the pressure the poor economy has put on individuals.  This bill would give people a little breathing room to Hoosiers so that they can avoid losing their homes and other property,” said Rep. Friend.