County compiles list of properties for tax sale

This fall, investors will have the chance to buy more than 300 properties throughout the county that, in total, are behind more $1 million in property taxes.

The county is working to set the list of properties that will head to tax sale in September for unpaid taxes. As of the beginning of the month, the list had 361 properties, owing more than $1.6 million in taxes and fees, but expect that amount to fluctuate as the sale approaches, auditor Pam Burton said.

Nearly every year, the county conducts a tax sale for properties with at least three installments of their property tax bill unpaid. The list ranges from vacant properties to homes and business property that are spread throughout Johnson County.

Owners got their first notice that their property was set for tax sale last week, and the sale is scheduled for Sept. 14, Burton said.

She expects the list to dwindle as people continue to pay their late taxes and fees to avoid going to tax sale, she said. If a property owner pays now, they avoid some of the fees that will be tacked on if the property goes to tax sale, she said.

In past years, the list of properties that actually went to the tax sale was less than 150, she said.

Investors commonly come to the county’s tax sale, looking for a deal on a property. Sometimes, residents next to a piece of vacant land on the list want to make a bid on the property to try to expand their yard, she said. The lowest bid is the amount of taxes owed, plus any fees, she said.

But what they are actually buying at the sale is a lien for the property, and the owner who owes the taxes and fees has a year to pay what is owed and keep their home, land or business property, she said.

The amount of properties that go to tax sale each year is low, compared to how many properties the county has in total, she said. For example, if all 361 on the list as of early July went to tax sale, it would total less than 1 percent of the county’s nearly 66,000 parcels, she said.

By the numbers

Here is a look at the number of properties currently set for tax sale, nearly two months before the auction, compared to past years:

Year;parcels listed;sold;not sold





2016 (as of July 6);361

Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2718.