A response for Mr. Dodson’s question(s)

just saying

First though | This New Yorker magazine quick sketch piece on phrases that ought to be retired.We think “at the end of the day” is another.

And so, reader Al Dodson, in a recent comment, asked this:

“Brian, you are knowledgeable about real estate and I assume property taxes so I was wondering if you could educate me about what is going on with the council person whose property seams to always be in arrears. How long can one hold out before a forced sale? What strategies are involved in protecting property that is in arrears and, other than being ‘broke,’ what possible reason would someone have for not paying these taxes?

“If the councilman in question can’t generate enough profits from his business to pay his taxes, it can’t be said he is not conducting council business the same way, that is, without good fiscal sense.”

Mr. D, let me clarify a few things first.

  1. We are not knowledgeable about real estate nor property taxes.
  2. We are fairly comfortable and experienced with computers and search engines.
  3. We know how to read.

To find responses to your observations we found these resources that may provide answers for you and others:

    1. What is a lien on your property? See: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-property-lien.html
    2. If someone owes Pennsylvania taxes, see: https://www.revenue.pa.gov/GeneralTaxInformation/News%20and%20Statistics/ReportsStats/Liens/Pages/default.aspx
    3. Pennsylvania’s definitions: https://govt.westlaw.com/pac/Document/N9DECE0F078B911E8A3C4BF16241FC292?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)
    4. Unofficial | Purdon’s Pennsylvania Statutes
    5. Pennsylvania’s Lien of Taxes;  Filing of Tax Returns;  Adjudication, see: https://govt.westlaw.com/pac/Browse/Home/Pennsylvania/UnofficialPurdonsPennsylvaniaStatutes?guid=NCE6C6EE7E4EC491BB037358BB19F4805&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default) 
    6. Lancaster County’s Webpage | Liens
    7. “Liens Enable Creditors to Assert Rights Over Property” | Liens include Statutory Liens as Mechanic’s Liens and Tax Liens – BizFilings
    8. In Lancaster County | “The treasurer collects delinquent real estate taxes for the county, as well as for each municipality and school district within the county. “
    9. OPINION | “Act 93 Expands Effects of Unpaid Real Estate Taxes in PA”Dornish Law Offices LLC
    10. Another OPINION | “Unpaid Real Estate Tax Can Become a Lien on All of a Property Owner’s Real Estate in Pennsylvania”Buchanan, Ingersoll & Ronney, PC
    11. Another OPINION | “What Happens If I Don’t Pay Property Taxes in Pennsylvania?” – NOLO.com (Nolo, a wholly owned subsidiary of MH Sub I, LLC, is the integration of some of the Internet’s first legal sites, including Nolo.com, Divorcenet.com and AllLaw.com. These sites were combined with the ExpertHub technology platform in 2011 to form the Nolo Network. NOLO’s mission is to help consumers and small businesses find answers to their everyday legal and business questions.)
    12. Another OPINION | Pennsylvania State Lien Law Summary
       – Levy, Von Beck, Comstock, PPS

We’re not attorneys nor real estate nor tax experts, but it looks like there’s a county-by-county process that can lead to a upset tax sale as this recent one.

Here’s information about the “Pennsylvania Real Estate Upset Tax Sales Bill.”

pa tax delinquencies


  1. Thank you Brian; that helps. It appears you have about two years to catch up on delinquent taxes (in the meantime you can miss another years taxes). I assume there is no discretion on the part of the treasurers office to delay a sale; I would certainly hope not!

    I wonder if anyone has checked the business and personal delinquent tax lists to see if any elected officials are on them. They open on my phone but crash in about thirty seconds; makes for a difficult search.

  2. Thanks, those are links to property taxes which I can access. I’m speaking of the business and personal tax lists linked to in the second site above. These would be sales and income taxes as opposed to property taxes.

  3. Ah-h-h, now we get you. The links at that site are really slow, no doubt due top the large number of files, e.g., people and businesses that are delinquent. But we were able to download the one file that shows the Pennsylvania Tax Lien List – Business Taxes, Updated: 12/01/18 and we’ve posted the Columbia delinquencies in the article.

    If you want to see the entire list, you should be able to click here (https://www.revenue.pa.gov/GeneralTaxInformation/News%20and%20Statistics/ReportsStats/Liens/Documents/lien_list-business.pdf). but it’s a huge file.

    In 2017, Pennlive posted an article entitled, “The database below shows unpaid tax liens filed against businesses and individuals, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.” (https://www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/page/taxes_owed_pennsylvania.html?appSession=8J40MUR356ZO73V26DU4V3Q29D901D78118XNDEKQ6I24N1ZDB7I66QS7PQIU98J36SYB070K0CA63RIQ289PB3Q5GS684YKI3Q66587YLIA90SX5R0DRC58GM5M56S5&PageID=2&PrevPageID=&cpipage=94&CPISortType=&CPIorderBy=&appSession=4MQC1AS709LEPOU9U644O8002RF33HNEP81D33A3K3R8NERH07533AHLH38UA6316K7Z6EACTJ3GUN00K7A30L647SRN2RI2910U677O33O9IX681EBN6J787B47MYAB)

    That article contains a long click through of delinquencies. We found 12 Columbia delinquencies among the long list that were included, though Penn Live did not include those with delinquencies less then $5,000.

  4. All very interesting! So we have a councilman who is listed with several delinquent taxes AND property taxes. To think he struggles to pay property taxes, like many of our seniors. However, unlike many of our seniors, he’s not quite at retirement age and living on SS alone. He still has the ability to earn income. Makes one wonder where all of his money goes, if he’s not paying his taxes with it. More importantly as Mr. D pointed out in a previous comment, this same councilman has control over spending OUR money. Can’t manage his own but is in charge of managing OURS? WOW!!!

  5. To be clear, I haven’t seen anything that indicates the councilman owes any taxes other than delinquent property taxes. If there are other delinquent taxes; it is something voters should be aware of. Perhaps we should be scouring these lists for all the council and school board members.

    The number one obligation of these officials is to spend public money in a sound and prudent manner just as, presumably, they would their own.

  6. We just spoke with the PA Department of Revenue to let them know that the link (Individual Taxes Lien List) at the Webpage is inoperative; the person with whom we spoke assured me the link will be repaired and she will call me back when the link is fixed.

    Meanwhile the link to the delinquent Business Taxes Lien List is operable: https://www.revenue.pa.gov/GeneralTaxInformation/News%20and%20Statistics/ReportsStats/Liens/Documents/lien_list-business.pdf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s