Warren County Chancery Clerk: ‘Don’t wait’ to pay delinquent property taxes

Published 9:46 am Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The notification process for delinquent 2019 property taxes in Warren County began on Friday and Chancery Clerk Donna Hardy said she wants to warn residents about fines that will be incurred should they wait to pay what is owed.

While addressing the Warren County Board of Supervisors during its March 7 meeting, Hardy explained the fines that can be added onto a property owner’s delinquent tax bill and the best way for property owners to avoid additional fines.

“We’re trying to come out strong, not just doing a public service announcement in July, but also to point out to our constituents how they can save some money,” Hardy said. “You know how we feel about them losing their property; we take it fairly personally.”

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The 180-day notice period began on Friday when the first of a series of certified mailers was sent to property owners via certified mail. The cost added to the property owner’s delinquent tax bill for a certified mailer is $7.33.

“When properties are redeemed, the county must be made whole,” Hardy said. “(The county is) paying for all those certified mailers, the constable or the sheriff going out, newspaper notices, the whole nine yards. So when that individual redeems, he’s got to pay all those costs back.

“If you don’t have to wait, don’t wait.”

It is mandatory, within the 180-day notice period, for the chancery clerk’s office to send five notices by the end of June: a $7.33 certified mailer in March, a $45 constable or sheriff’s notice in April; a $7.33 certified mailer to the mortgage company or lienor to protect their interests as applicable; a second $7.33 owner’s notice in June and in July, $1.50 if the property is listed in a public notice printed in the newspaper.

“Add all that up, at a minimum that is $68.49 already added to what they owe in delinquent tax as the purchaser,” Hardy said.

However, the costs rise even higher as the number of owners of a property increases.

If there are two owners listed for a property, they could owe up to $136.98. If it is an heir property, that minimum grows to $273.96.

“It doesn’t matter whether you owe the county $10,000 or $500,” Hardy said. “I want that out there, because our public gets so upset. You think, ‘Oh, I owe $150.’ No, now you owe that $150 plus whatever is here. The more you can encourage them to come on in if they’re capable, (the better).”

“Hardy said she’s not as concerned about entities like development companies, because those companies typically anticipate those costs over time. Instead, she’s worried about individuals who might not realize the extra fees added onto what they owe the county.

“The one I worry about is the poor guy out there who really doesn’t realize all this is getting tacked on,” she said. “Not only do they not realize it’s getting tacked on to what they owe; they don’t know the period that it comes in. They think ‘I’m just coming in to pay that tax I didn’t pay two years ago.'”

Hardy said her main goal for this year’s notice period is to ensure that property owners pay their delinquent taxes sooner rather than later, so as not to incur these additional fees.

A complete list of delinquent properties can be found at https://co.warren.ms.us.

Last year, more than 500 parcels in Warren County were listed as unpaid.