Oakland treasurer encourages residents to act now to save homes

Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner is calling on all Oakland County homeowners who have received notices of impending tax foreclosure to contact his office immediately to set up a Taxpayer Assistance Meeting and save their home from the harsh, state-imposed process of property tax foreclosure.

"State law imposes a very harsh system of property tax foreclosure that I tried to change as a state representative," said Meisner. "With the Legislature refusing to provide relief, we are stuck with a system that can lead to the loss of property unless taxpayers contact my office immediately to set up a monthly payment plan."

Under state law, if property taxes are not paid to the local city, village or township, they are turned over to the County Treasurer as "delinquent" on March 1 of the next year at which time the taxes are subject to 1% of interest each month. On March 1 of the following year, the interest rate increases to 1.5% per month or 18% annually. In the third year, a property can be lost to the county for non-payment.

"We offer all taxpayers the chance to sit down with me personally to protect their home with a good-faith payment plan," said Meisner. "However, I believe that it is fundamentally unfair to all taxpayers to shift their burden onto others by refusing to pay."

While a state representative, Meisner introduced legislation to give County Treasurers the discretion to lower the state law imposed interest and fees when a taxpayer shows good faith by entering into a payment plan.

Published: Tue, Dec 6, 2011