Colorado

Oct 27, 2009 2:03 AM by Jeannette Hynes

El Paso County collects $7 million in overdue taxes

El Paso County had more than 4,200 property owners who owed property taxes for 2008, until the County Treasurer's Office held a specialized auction.

The auction is called a tax lien auction or tax lien sale, where someone can bid to buy a property's tax lien.  Sometimes the bid is for the amount owed, or the bidder can bid more, if they think the property is worth it.  That new tax lien owner then can earn interest on the investment.  The interest rate is set by the State of Colorado.  This year, the rate is 10 percent.  That rate has been has high as 15 percent.

"You can't get 10 percent anywhere else, and it is a good investment, and relatively secure," says Sandra Damron, El Paso County Treasurer.

This year, Damron says more developers owed taxes than in previous years, which gave the county more tax liens to sell.  This year's auction sold 3,684 tax liens collecting $7.1 million in taxes.  The county recovered $4.8 million in 2008.  The liens not sold at the auction are available for sale on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The type of properties range from empty lots, commercial property, homes, and what the Treasurer's Office calls "junk property" - property that likely can't be developed for various reasons.

El Paso County's tax lien sale is done in person.  Pueblo County holds an online sale.

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