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Tax Collector's Deed Sale

Related Pages: Administration & Finance » Treasurer & Collector of Taxes

The Treasurer & Collector of Taxes periodically holds public auctions for the lien for a property owner's unpaid real estate taxes as a means to perfect a tax lien.

Q:
What is a Tax Collector's deed auction
 A:

A Tax Collector's deed auction is a process conducted in accordance with M.G.L. Chapter 60, Section 43 whereby the City Treasurer offers the lien for the property owner's unpaid real estate taxes at public auction as a means to perfect a tax lien. The City shall make a single sale by public auction for the amount of unpaid taxes, interest and charges.

Q:
Did I get notified of the tax delinquency and this sale?
 A:

The Treasurer & Collector's Office, prior to any Collector's deed auction undergoes an extensive notification process in order to inform the property owner of their delinquent tax status. This notification process begins four months prior to any sale and consists of 4 pre-sale notifications sent to the property owner at the mailing address on record and additionally includes a publication in the local newspaper as required by M.G.L. Chapter 60, Section 40. This is in addition to the four tax bills sent out each year plus the demand notice which is sent whenever an unpaid balance remains.

Q:
How do I know if my taxes were sold?
 A:

The Treasurer & Collector's Office sends one post-sale notification to the property owner at the mailing address on record notifying them of the name, address and telephone number of the purchaser of the tax lien. That is the FINAL notification issued by the City of Worcester relative to the tax lien; after that notification it is up to the lien holder to communicate directly with the property owner about the outstanding tax liability.

Q:
Does the purchaser own my property?
 A:

No, the successful bidder obtains a lien on the property similar to a mortgage which can be foreclosed in the land court.

Q:
What happens if my taxes do not sell?
 A:

An adjournment sale is held within 7 days of the original auction date, and if no person bids on the taxes offered for sale the Treasurer & Collector of Taxes shall execute a Tax Collector's deed on behalf of the City of Worcester to perfect the lien. At that time the City holds the tax deed.

Q:
Can I still pay the taxes?
 A:

The owner of the property subject to a Tax Collector's deed has the absolute right to redeem the property by paying the accrued taxes and other allowable charges prior to entry of a foreclosure judgment by the Massachusetts Land Court. Prior to the commencement of a foreclosure action in Land Court, the redemption amount is as set forth in applicable law, including M.G.L. Chapter 60, Section 62.

Q:
Can I still pay the City my taxes?
 A:

Yes. Pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 60, Section 63, the Treasurer & Collector of Taxes shall receive money paid to him instead of the purchaser provided the amount tendered equals the amount stated in the Tax Collector's deed plus additional interest at the rate of 16% per year and costs from the date of the sale. The Treasurer shall then pay over all money to the person entitled, except the City shall collect a $10.00 fee.

Q:
Do I have to pay legal fees?
 A:

Prior to entry into Land Court, redemption amount is set forth in applicable law, including M.G.L. Chapter 60, Section 62. Section 62 does not provide for legal fees. After entry into Land Court, redemption amount is set for in applicable law, including M.G.L. Chapter 60, Section 68, which states in part that upon motion the Court may impose such "counsel fees as the court deems reasonable."

FOR LEGAL ADVICE PLEASE CONSULT YOUR OWN ATTORNEY.

If you do not have an attorney, contact the Lawyer Referral Service of the Worcester County Bar Association at (508) 752-1311 or fill out the online form by visiting their website at www.worcestercountybar.org.

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