Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston

Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston is pleased to announce the turnback totals for 2011 are in excess of $20 million dollars.  These funds stem from the redemption and sale of tax delinquent properties certified to the Commissioner of State Lands office.  Thurston said, “Once properties are redeemed by the original owner or sold at public auction, the funds collected are returned to the county, where the property is located, one year after the collection date.”

            Real estate taxes are due to the county collector no later than October 15 of each year.  If taxes are not paid for one year after that date, the county is required by law to certify the delinquent properties to the Commissioner of State Lands office for collection.  During a property’s time at the Commissioner of State Lands office, the staff is continuously working to collect the taxes from the original owners or interested parties via multiple certified and regular mail notices.  If no one comes forward to pay the taxes within the prescribed time period, the property goes to public auction.

            The $20.4 million in turnback revenue represent taxes that have been collected via redemption or sale as well as excess funds collected from the sale of properties.  “Property taxes play a vital role in the stability of county revenues.  Public schools and county services depend on real estate tax dollars to aid in funding their programs.  Without these funds our communities may miss out on essential programs and growth,” said Thurston.

            Pulaski County received the largest combined turnback amount, totaling $4.1 million, with Benton County close behind receiving just under $4 million dollars.