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Braintree Patch – Quincy Follows Weymouth in Choosing Braintree Firm for Tax Auction

The City of Quincy will conduct a Tax Title assignment auction at Quincy City Hall, 1305 Hancock Street on Tuesday, May 22 at 10 a.m.By Joseph Markman | Email the author | May 4, 2012

A month after helping Weymouth raise $800,000 in a tax title auction, Braintree-based Strategic Auction Alliance has been selected by Quincy officials to hold an auction there that could raise nearly $2 million from 47 properties.

Quincy, like Weymouth, will use a relatively new law that allows municipalities to unburden themselves of foreclosure proceedings by selling its property tax titles to investors. The city has made unsuccessful efforts to collect back taxes from the owners of the 47 commercial and multi-family properties, according to a press release from Strategic Auction Alliance.

“Given the current economic climate, municipal resources are stretched to the limit,” firm principal Tom Weitbrecht said in the release. “A growing number of cities and towns are seeing tax title assignment auctions as a win-win scenario for municipalities and investors.”

The Tax Title assignment auction will be held at Quincy City Hall at 1305 Hancock St. on Tuesday, May 22 at 10 a.m.

“Massachusetts General Law allows the city to sell its receivable position to the highest bidder at public auction for, at a minimum, what the city is owed,” according to the release. “Winning bidders assume the city’s position and are entitled to 16% simple interest on the principal balance of the tax title account. Assignees can elect to initiate foreclosure proceedings if the debt, plus interest, is not repaid.”

Prior to the Quincy auction, on Tuesday, May 15 at 7 p.m., the alliance will hold a free seminar for prospective investors at The Lantana at 43 Scanlon Dr. in Randolph. Boston tax title attorney John Finnegan from Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rogers will be available for questions.

“We’re pleased to have been retained by the City of Quincy and look forward to assisting in its efforts to collect outstanding property taxes,” Weitbrecht said. “Our firm has a thorough understanding of the process and an extensive following of motivated and capable investors.”

 

Banker & Tradesman – City Of Quincy To Auction 47 Property Tax Titles

The city of Quincy received $678,051 in revenue from tax payer redemptions, tax title auction sales and premiums paid by investors at tax title assignment auction held May 22, the first such auction in the city. The auction was conducted by Braintree-based Strategic Auction Alliance.

Under Massachusetts law, municipalities can auction off the right to collect back taxes to private entities, as long as the minimum bid at least equals what the city is owed. Winning bidders can then collect up to 16 percent simple interest on the principal balance taxes owed, and can initiate foreclosure proceedings if not repaid.

Quincy initially offered $1.9 million worth of tax titles, but some properties were withdrawn from the auction, while others did not draw investor interest. Some property owners paid the overdue taxes, forestalling the sale.

More than half the total funds raised ($409,750) came from owners paying up prior to action, but the city raised $14,200 in excess of the $268,301 in winning bids on the day due to competitive bidding. Both local and out-of-state investors participated.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of the Tax Title auction campaign,” said Strategic Auction Alliance principal Tom Weitbrecht, in a statement. “[I]nvestor participation was excellent resulting in spirited bidding… It was an honor to help the city of Quincy to raise funding the city needs to provide essential services to its residents.”

 

 

Boston Globe – Quincy receives $700,000 from tax-title auction

May 23, 2012 | By Jessica Bartlett, Town Correspondent, Globe Staff

By Jessica Bartlett, Town Correspondent

Quincy received nearly $700,000 in revenues from taxpayer redemptions, tax title auction sales, and premiums paid by investors at the first ever tax-title assignment auction, held May 22.

Conducted by Braintree-based tax title auction specialists Strategic Auction Alliance, the auction utilizes an option created under Massachusetts General Law in 2004, providing municipalities the ability to sell the receivable position of taxes owed to the highest bidder at public auction.

Strategic principal Tom Weitbrecht said it’s something municipalities are doing more of.

“We go in, do a lot of heavy lifting for municipalities, and make this happen,” Weitbrecht said, who conducted a similar auction in Weymouth, where $800,000 was collected from the auction.

So that municipalities don’t lose money, the city can sell tax titles only if the minimum bid at least equals what the city is owed.

Winning bidders effectively assume the city’s position as the tax collector, and then are entitled to a 16 percent simple interest on the principal balance of the tax title account.

“Assignees can elect to initiate foreclosure proceedings if the debt, plus interest, is not repaid. The assignment of the tax title in this manner allows the city to immediately recoup monies owed on taxes, and avoids additional time and expense involved with tax foreclosure proceedings,” a release from Strategic Alliance said.

Although the auction started with $1.9 million in tax titles, some properties were withdrawn from the proceedings because of problems. Other properties didn’t draw investor interest.

Many others paid their overdue taxes to keep the titles from being sold to outside investors, who came in from such states as Arizona, Florida, New York, and New Jersey.

In total, pre-auction redemptions equaled $409,750, while auction day sales accounted for $268,301.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of the tax-title auction campaign… investor participation was excellent resulting in spirited bidding that added to the revenues generated,” said Weitbrecht, who is a 1987 NQHS graduate. “It was an honor to help the city of Quincy to raise funding the city needs to provide essential services to its residents.”

Braintree Patch – Quincy Tax Title Auction by Braintree Firm Earns City Nearly $700,000

The City of Quincy held a Tax Title assignment auction at Quincy City Hall on May 22.

By Joseph Markman | Email the author | May 24, 2012

Strategic Auction Alliance, a Braintree-based firm, helped the City of Quincy generate almost $700,000 from a tax title auction on Tuesday.

A month after helping Weymouth raise $800,000 in a similar auction, the firm was selected by Quincy officials to hold an auction featuring nearly 50 properties and tax titles worth $1.9 million.

Accounting for property owners paying off taxes ahead of the auction, some being withdrawn because of title issues and others that did not draw interest, often because of the size of tax bills compared to the property value, the city earned $409,750 in pre-auction redemptions and $268,301 in auction day sales.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of the Tax Title auction campaign,” Strategic Auction Alliance Principal Tom Weitbrecht said in a statement. “Investor participation was excellent resulting in spirited bidding that added to the revenues generated.”

Under Massachusetts General Law, municipalities can sell the receivable position of taxes owed to the highest bidder at public auction, as long as the minimum bid at least equals what the city is owed, according to the alliance. Winning bidders then in effect assume the city’s position and are entitled to 16 percent simple interest on the principal balance of the tax title account.

Assignees can also initiate foreclosure proceedings if the debt, plus interest, is not repaid. This allows the city to immediately recoup money owed, avoiding the additional time and expense involved with tax foreclosure proceedings.

Banker & Tradesman – Quincy Gets Almost $700,000 In Tax Title Auction

The city of Quincy received $678,051 in revenue from tax payer redemptions, tax title auction sales and premiums paid by investors at tax title assignment auction held May 22, the first such auction in the city. The auction was conducted by Braintree-based Strategic Auction Alliance.

Under Massachusetts law, municipalities can auction off the right to collect back taxes to private entities, as long as the minimum bid at least equals what the city is owed. Winning bidders can then collect up to 16 percent simple interest on the principal balance taxes owed, and can initiate foreclosure proceedings if not repaid.

Quincy initially offered $1.9 million worth of tax titles, but some properties were withdrawn from the auction, while others did not draw investor interest. Some property owners paid the overdue taxes, forestalling the sale.

More than half the total funds raised ($409,750) came from owners paying up prior to action, but the city raised $14,200 in excess of the $268,301 in winning bids on the day due to competitive bidding. Both local and out-of-state investors participated.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of the Tax Title auction campaign,” said Strategic Auction Alliance principal Tom Weitbrecht, in a statement. “[I]nvestor participation was excellent resulting in spirited bidding… It was an honor to help the city of Quincy to raise funding the city needs to provide essential services to its residents.”

Boston Globe – Weymouth – Town to hold tax debt auction

Aim is to recoup some of $3m owed
By Johanna Seltz Globe Correspondent / March 15, 2012 They have tried forgiveness and shame, and now Weymouth officials hope an auction will get back some of the more than $3 million owed the town in back property taxes.

The town will hold a municipal auction on April 10 of tax liens – the debts outstanding – on about 70 properties whose owners have not paid their property tax bills in at least two years, according to Weymouth finance director William McKinney.

The hope, McKinney said, is that the auction will bring in at least $1 million, which will go toward town expenses. Weymouth’s approximately $75 million in real estate taxes pay for 62 percent of the annual town budget, he said.

The town joins a handful of other communities around the state to go the auction route in attempting to collect needed cash.

Hull held a successful tax lien auction several years ago and is talking about doing it again, said Town Manager Philip Lemnios.

Other communities that regularly hold tax lien auctions include Dedham and Worcester. At Worcester’s last auction, in April 2011, the city collected $814,000 from 413 accounts, according to Treasurer and Collector Mariann Castelli Hier.

State law has allowed municipalities to auction off their bad debt since 2004. But most communities do not take advantage of the provision, according to Michael Hanlon, executive director of the Massachusetts Collectors and Treasurers Association.

“We don’t as an association keep track, but to my knowledge I don’t think this happens very frequently,’’ Hanlon said.

Braintree, for example, held an auction of tax debts several years ago but is not planning another one any time soon, said its finance director, Edward Spellman.

“It’s a fairly complicated process,’’ Spellman said, and the $700,000 that Braintree has outstanding in back taxes “is not at the level where we have to look at something like that.’’

Leonard Kopelman, whose Boston law firm Kopelman and Paige represents about half of the communities in the state, agreed that few resort to tax lien auctions.

“It never really took off in a big way,’’ Kopelman said. “You can make an argument for it, but if the town has a small number of people who are in trouble, do you really want to send [their debt] out to an outside group? Or do you want to try to work with people?’’

But Lemnios said properties that end up in tax lien auctions usually are ones on which the municipality has expended a lot of effort already.

“These are not the typical lien cases,’’ he said. “Lots of times there are issues about probate, death of the owner. There are usually complications, and you’ve made substantial efforts to knock on the door.’’

The auction is the next logical step in trying to get the money into the town’s coffers, said McKinney.

Last year, Weymouth offered tax scofflaws amnesty from penalties if they would pay their bills, and then published the names of the remaining offenders in an online list. Those measures encouraged, and shamed, some people into paying their back taxes, McKinney said. But he said the backlog was still substantial and more needed to be done.

McKinney said officials decided on the auction, in part because it is preferable to the option of foreclosing on the properties with longstanding tax debts, which range from about $4,000 to $50,000.

“These are not people who are a couple of months behind,’’ he said. “These are people who are a couple of years behind and have received notices and been on the [town] website. We want to get the money that the town is owed.

“We are not selling the house out from under them,’’ he added. “We don’t own the house. We are selling the lien to someone else’’ who will repay the back taxes and charge the property owner to do so.

McKinney said private investors usually buy the liens, primarily because they are allowed to charge 16 percent interest.

“There are a lot of companies out there that are looking for ways to earn more money. The opportunity to charge 16 percent interest is quite enticing,’’ he said.

On the flip side, the people who owe the taxes will not welcome facing a new collector.

“There’s some fear of the unknown – they’re dealing with a third party rather than the city – even though the third party can’t do anything the city couldn’t do,’’ said Worcester’s deputy tax collector, Erin Gallagher. “The investors thank us for offering the opportunity.’’

Weymouth’s auction is being handled by Strategic Auction Alliance-Weitbrecht Auctioneers of Braintree. The list of properties – single-family homes, condominiums, and vacant land – and their tax lien status is available at the town webpage: www.weymouth.ma.us.

The prospect of having their debt sold at auction already has spurred some property owners to pay up, said McKinney. The auction roster started with more than 80 listings and, as of early this month, was closer to 70, he said.

Said Lemnios, “The process does tend to provide an incentive for people’’ to pay up.

© Copyright 2012 Globe Newspaper Company.

 

 

Braintree Patch – Braintree Firm to Hold Tax Title and Possession Auction in Weymouth

Strategic Auction Alliance, based in Braintree, will assist the Town of Weymouth in selling tax titles and tax possession rights to nearly 100 properties in April.

By Joseph Markman
| Email the author | February 22, 2012

Weymouth will hold an auction this April with the help of a Braintree firm that will include the relatively rare action of a town selling its property tax titles to investors instead of guiding the accounts itself through lengthy foreclosure proceedings.

Strategic Auction Alliance, which last year held an unclaimed property auction for the Braintree Police Department, will conduct a Tax Title and Tax Possession auction on April 10, 2012 at 10 a.m. at the McCulloch Building, 182 Green Street, North Weymouth.

The auction will include 78 tax titles worth $2.51 million, with combined assessed property values of $18.11 million. It will also likely feature 20 properties that have gone through the foreclosure process, though that list is not final.

Under Massachusetts Law, municipalities may issue a “Tax Taking” for accounts more than a year past due, changing the status of the account to “Tax Title,” according to a press release issued by the alliance.

Once an account is in “Tax Title,” the taxpayers are responsible for 16 percent interest on the principal balance of the account. After six months of “Tax Title” status, municipalities can file for municipal foreclosure. Upon receiving a judgment of tax foreclosure from the land court, the municipality becomes the owner of the property, or, in other words, the property becomes a tax possession.

But a change in Massachusetts law in 2004 allows municipalities to assign individual tax title accounts at public auction to assignees/ investors for no less than what the town is owed, letting the community avoid foreclosure proceedings that often take up to 18 months.

“Literally the person who buys the tax title






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