By Lemunuiel Edwards
Trading Economics declared that the unemployment rate for 2009 was 10.1. Several U. S. economists are fearful that the county is headed for a “double dip” recession, and some of the rudimentary causes for it are the mortgage fraud, foreclosures, dipping housing prices, and the vast increase in real estate property tax liens.
The total amount of property taxes owed surpassed $25 million according to the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR). This years recessionary economy numbers not only means that the 2010 real estate tax sale list will be filled with properties up for auction , but also the amount of commercial and residential property taxes owed to OTR may even exceed last years totals. Restaurateurs to janitors, lawyers to teachers, and doctors to technicians will have their names on the delinquent real estate property list, and a few famous addresses may well be listed there too. Even though you may think your property is on the chopping block and every thing appears to be doom and gloom, you may be able to save your property!
The D.C. Tax (DCT) office holds its annual tax sale for all delinquent property taxes. You may be able to redeem your property even if you forgot to pay or couldn’t afford to pay your real estate property taxes and special assessments or missed remitting your water or sewer sanitation bills.
The amount of property taxes you must pay is determined by an annual assessment of your property. Every year, thousands of properties in the District of Columbia are sold at tax sales well below the fair market value. As real estate property owners, you have the opportunity to review the assessments of similar properties at the local assessor’s office in order to determine whether your property has been assessed at its fair market value. The National Taxpayers Union estimates that as much as 60% of taxable property in the United States is over assessed. In spite of the growing tax bills, only half of homeowners protest their assessments, and this means many property owners may be paying more property taxes than necessary.
If you think your property has been unfairly assessed, you can appeal it, and you can possibly save yourself hundreds to thousands of dollars in the long run. If your taxes go unpaid, your property may be sold at a tax sale; however, before your property can be sold, you have to be notified in writing. Properties are sold at a public auction if all taxes, penalties, and other cost are not paid before the sale. The District of Columbia publishes a list of the properties to be sold in two newspapers, and in the past, these publications have primarily been The Washington Times and The Washington Post. Do your homework and legwork by frequently checking the aforementioned newspapers for the dates of the delinquent property tax sales, visit your local DCT office and ask questions about how to proceed, contact the DC BAR Tax Sale Division, attend the OTR free seminars regarding the redeeming procedures, in August, or go on-line to www.dccourts.gov to see if your property has been listed and take the necessary steps you need in order to redeem your dream.