Chief Tax Deputy Heather Sparks presented the final disposition list for tax years 2020 and 2019 during Thursday’s Feb. 3 Upshur County Commission meeting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Sheriff’s tax office collects over $300,000 from delinquent properties sold during annual land sale

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Sheriff’s Tax Office recouped approximately $310,000 during their November 2021 land sale for tax years 2020 and 2019.

Chief Tax Deputy Heather Sparks presented the final disposition list for tax years 2020 and 2019 during Thursday’s Feb. 3 Upshur County Commission meeting.

“As you all will remember, our sale for the 2019 taxes, which was scheduled for November of 2020 was canceled due to COVID exposure,” Sparks said. “Because of that cancellation, we suspended 186 properties that normally would have been sold either to individuals or to the state during that land sale; we just added them on to the next land sale.”

Sparks and everyone in her office sent out close to 1,200 certified letters in October 2021, and the tax lien/land sale took place Nov. 17, 2021, at the Brushy Fork Event Center.

The Sheriff’s Annual Tax Lien Sale/Land Sale enables tax-delinquent lands to be returned to private ownership so the revenues derived from those properties can be allocated to the counties in which they are located.

“Before the sale, we did have 1,293 [delinquent properties] from 2020, and 47 of the 186 properties from [tax year] 2019 were redeemed, which was worth approximately $500,000, which simply means they paid the taxes before the sale,” Sparks said. “We did suspend 51 properties, which totaled $670 in taxes before the sale. These were properties that could not be sold either because they were previously sold to the state or they were gas royalties.”

Sparks explained that many properties are redeemed prior to the land sale, and even if a property is bought at the sale, the original taxpayer has 18 months to redeem their property. Of the 270 properties sold for tax years 2019 and 2020, 147 of those were sold to individuals.

“We collected approximately $310,000 at the sale in taxes, interest, publication fees and surplus,” Sparks said. “One hundred and twenty-three properties were not bid on, so they were sold in-state, and those taxes were approximately $2,144. Since these properties are sold to the state, the state will hold on to them until March 31, 2023, and they can be redeemed by the taxpayers until that day.”

Sparks said any citizen who had a tax lien sold against a property to an individual or the state can still get the property back.

“They have to contact the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office, the Land Sale Division, and the phone number for that is 1-888-509-6568 and at that time, the State Auditor’s Office will let them know exactly what must be done and the amount that is needed to be paid in order to redeem those properties,” Sparks said.

She also thanked everyone in her office for all their hard work and commended two new tax deputies.

“I do want to take the opportunity to thank my tax deputies, as I do every year, for their hard work and dedication,” Sparks said. “We actually had two new tax deputies this year, and they both worked really hard to learn and to process, and they dove in headfirst, and they have proved to be valuable assets to our office. All of my tax deputies go above and beyond to make the tax office run as smoothly as possible.”

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!