Procedures for Collecting Taxes
County/Municipal Real Estate tax bills are mailed out by each municipality’s tax collector on or before March 1st. School Real Estate tax bills are mailed by the school district on or before July 1st. If the taxes are not paid by December 31st (of the year the taxes became due and payable), the local tax collectors and school districts return all delinquent and uncollected taxes to the Montour County Tax Claim Bureau for further collection.
The Bureau sends out a “Notice of Claim” to notify each property owner with delinquent taxes that a claim has been entered against the property. The tax claim becomes “absolute” if it is not paid by December 31st of the year it was turned over to the Bureau.
The property owner then receives notice that the property will be advertised, posted and sold. If the tax due is not paid by June 30th (of the 2nd year after the original tax bill was issued), the property is advertised for the Upset Tax Sale.
The last opportunity for the taxpayer to pay the taxes due and avoid the upset sale is 4pm the last (business) day before the sale.
Upset Sale: Properties that have two or more years’ worth of delinquent taxes are sold at the upset sale every September. Mortgages, judgements or non-tax liens are not divested by the upset sale. Properties offered are sold at a bid equal to or greater than the amount of outstanding taxes, bureau costs and any municipal liens. An upset sale becomes final after confirmation by the Court of Common Pleas.
Judicial Sale (Free and Clear): Properties not sold at the Upset Sale become eligible for Judicial Sale. The Bureau has a current owner title search made. All known holders of mortgages, judgements or liens are notified that, by Order of the Court of Common Pleas, the property will be offered for sale divested of such mortgages, judgements or liens. Certain lien items (e.g. ground rents) survive the judicial sale under the Act.
Repository Sale: Properties not sold at a Judicial Sale are place in a “Repository” status. This in effect is a bank of unsold properties. The Bureau accepts bids on properties in repository. Bids must be approved by the taxing authorities.
The Bureau operates under the Real Estate Tax Sale Law, Act 542 of 1947, as amended.