I believe that reoccurring property taxes should be eliminated & abolished. Some individuals and entities make the argument that local governments could not function without the revenue brought in from property tax. That argument in is invalid, worthless and ill-founded and is the same sort of argument that was made by proponents and advocates of slavery at the time of slavery’s abolishment in the United States of America in the mid 19th century. Arguments such as, who will pick the cotton? were made. Who will work the fields? How will we turn a profit if we must pay employees stipends?
The answer for local government could be the nixing of entitlement programs, overhaul and downsize of government and putting an end to unneeded PPPs, (i.e., paper pushing positions) including those associated with the nixed utopian-like entitlement programs and, if absolutely essential and necessary, the raising of state sales taxes and local taxes.
It should be noted that there are no property taxes in Washington state and Oregon state. Both states have a higher state tax and I believe that Washington’s is 10%. Iowa’s is 7% 6% and I wouldn’t mind paying the additional 3% 4% if it meant eliminating & abolishing property tax in Iowa.
I bought my home (built in 1910) in the Wellington Heights neighborhood of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in November of the year 2006. The house was listed for $15,000 and I offered $7,500 and within 24-72 hours, I can’t remember exactly now, I was semi-astonished when I learned that the owners had accepted my offer. A scanned copy of the original certified and embossed deed in embedded below:
Property taxes in Wellington Heights, and also Mound View which is an adjacent neighborhood on the other side (north east as opposed to south east) of 1st Avenue, are relatively inexpensive. My annual property tax is in the $200 – $250 range.
At some point in the summer of 2010 my house was listed in the Linn County Tax Sale and some fortunate and opportune winner of their lottery system was given a whack at purchasing the delinquent tax in the form of a tax deed or tax certificate. The purchaser, who I later (18 months later) ascertained was an entity known as Oak Helm Partners, did indeed purchase the back taxes.
The way it works (or shouldn’t work) in Iowa is that each year a Tax Sale is held, and sometimes an additional Tax Sale is held if not all of the property taxes sell at the first sale, listing all properties which have accrued at least 12 months of delinquent property tax. At the Linn County Tax Sale an individual or and entity can buy up to ten (10) ‘tickets’. These ‘tickets’ are much like lottery or raffle tickets. After everyone buys their ticket, or tickets, the said tickets are then jumbled and mingled together for a drawing. If any of your tickets are drawn you are then given one (1) opportunity, one (1) for each of your tickets that might be drawn, to purchase a delinquent tax on a property which is known as a Tax Sale Certificate aka Tax Deed. It is possible that none of your tickets will be drawn. At the 2010 Linn County Tax Sale tickets were sold for $100 each.
After the Tax Sale the real owner of the property (the deed holder who bought the real property and already paid the sales tax when they bought the house) has, by law, 18 or maybe 24 months to ‘redeem’ the tax sale certificate aka tax deed. After that time period expires the purchaser of the tax sale certificate can, if they desire to do so, then file a ‘Notice of Expiration of Right of Redemption’ aka ’90 Day Notice’ which is a letter sent to the deed holder stating that in 90 more days the purchaser of the back tax can, if they choose to do so, file for deed (i.e, a real deed, they’ll really own the house and you’ll be evicted from your property) to the property with he Linn County Recorder’s Office.
Proof of delivery of the letter is not required and there is absolutely no, zero, judicial procedure or review involved. The entire process, from sale date thru expiration of right to redeem and the subsequent tangible loss of your tangible property, is an administrative procedure.
In January of 2012, when I wasn’t even in the United States of America, a letter was sent to my property @ 1626 5th Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52430 from Oak Helm Partners, 2920 Harrison Street, Davenport, Iowa 52803. This letter, which was not the 90 day notice, was/is what appears to be more of courtesy letter. I have embedded that letter below for review:
Roughly six months later, June, 2012, I received the 90 Day Notice:
Short of filing a civil action, in the Iowa District Court In And For Linn County or the United States District Court Northern District of Iowa, I had no other option than that of redeeming the Tax Sale Certificate by making payment in the amount of $1081.25 to the Linn County Treasure’s Office.
The payment of $1,081.25, in full, was made possible by Bruce Steadman of Tucker, Georgia to whom I am incredibly and gratefully indebted to.
I do plan to file a civil action against the State of Iowa, the Linn County Treasurer, and Oak Helm Partners. At what point in time I do not know. What’s funny (or really is anything but funny) is that when an individual does redeem his or her property he or she must sign an affidavit stating that, “The undersigned hereby agrees to indemnify and save harmless that Linn County Treasurer from any damages sustained because of such redemption.” For now I have marked the following official documents, the receipt of redemption and also the affidavit of redemption, as being ‘Paid Under Protest‘:
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As stated earlier in this blog report both Washington state and Oregon state do not have property taxes. It should be noted that it appears that North Dakota state might be moving towards doing away with property taxes, as well. I have embedded below, for your review, Eliminating Property Taxes in North Dakota, by David Tuerck, PhD, Paul Bachman, MSIE, Michael Head, MSEP, and Brett Narloch: