A tax defer payment program to provide assistance for the elderly of Lackawanna County will kick-off on March 1 for individuals who meet the income guidelines of the initiative.
The County’s Tax Claim Bureau’s “Extension For Elderly/Deferral of Taxes” will offer eligible persons 65 years of age or older an opportunity to extend or defer the period of time to pay their taxes. The overall goal of this program is to prevent them for losing their residences and/or the equity in their homes as a result of unpaid real estate taxes.
The program was enacted by the Commissioners on September 21, 2016. It is being administered by the County’s Area Agency on Aging and the Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency (SLHDA).
To be eligible, an applicant’s household income must be equal to or less than the maximum household income necessary to qualify for a property tax or rent rebate under the Senior Citizens Rebate Act.
To determine eligibility, the Tax Bureau and Area Agency on Aging will review tax return documents, homeowner’s insurance data and income information. If the applicant meets the requirements of the program, an additional three-month tax payment extension would be granted.
After this point, if the owner desires to continue to live in the residence and cannot afford to pay the taxes the Tax Claim Bureau may stay the tax sale and defer payment until such time as title to the property is transferred or the owner is no longer the sole occupant of the property.
Once the title to the property is transferred and the eligible owner is no longer the sole occupant, the taxes and simple interest shall be due.
For general tax information, call the Tax Claim Bureau at 570-963-6734.
For applications, guideline reviews and assistance, contact the Area Agency on Aging at 570-963-6740 or SLHDA at 570-963-6836.
Lackawanna County Tax Claim Bureau is in the process of setting over 600 properties for a Judicial Sale. The sale is on properties that have been put through Upset Sales and offered in Private Sales and have not sold. The Judicial Sale is popular with property owners and investors because it is a “free and clear” sale. All delinquent property owners are identified and served by the County Sheriffs for liens, judgements, and mortgages on their properties. The delinquent property owners are also notified by newspaper advertisement and have the right to pay the back taxes and redeem the properties until the day before the sale.
The sale will be held Monday, March 28, at 10 AM in the Lackawanna County Courthouse Jury Assembly Room. The last day to pay is Thursday, March 24, due to the County being closed for Good Friday.
To date, twenty three (23) property owners have paid $111,495.21 in taxes to redeem their properties from the sale, while one owner filed bankruptcy. The Bureau expects numerous owners to pay their taxes and redeem their properties prior to the sale. According to Ron Koldjeski, Tax Claim Deputy Director, the Bureau collected $530,564.09 last year prior to the sale and a similar situation is expected this year. Last year, the County took in over $1.9 million in pre-sale and sale activity. Mr. Koldjeski believes this year may be a larger sale because of some buildable parcels being offered.
All of the properties will be advertised on Friday, February 26, in The Times-Tribune and the Lackawanna County Jurist. The listing will also appear on the County’s website www.lackawannacounty.org.
There will be a mandatory registration period for bidders at the Tax Claim Bureau office until March 24. Any potential bidder must sign-up for the sale. These individuals will be given a bid number at that time. Only people with a bid number will be allowed in the sale to bid on properties.
A “Rule to Show Cause” hearing will be held on Monday, March 14, at 9:30 AM in the Lackawanna County Courthouse at which time a property owner can object to his/her property being sold, if the person wishes to do so.