Five St. Croix properties were auctioned off Wednesday to pay property taxes that were delinquent for 10 or more years, according to the Division of Real Property Tax in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
The auction was held at the Division of Personnel offices in Orange Grove, Christiansted.
Initially, a combination of 25 commercial and residential properties per district were scheduled for sale, but some have been removed from the auction lists as property owners either paid their balances in full or entered into installment agreements for payment, according to a statement from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
More than 1,000 parcels have been identified as delinquent for 10 or more years, with a total of $8.9 million owed to the Government of the Virgin Islands, according to the statement.
With a severe ongoing budget crisis, members of the V.I. Legislature have repeatedly urged the government over the course of the past year to step up its collection of overdue taxes as one way of increasing available revenue.
Officials in the Property Tax Division and at the V.I. Internal Revenue Bureau have testified to the Legislature that the government has substantially increased its efforts at collecting back taxes, citing the division’s placement of tax liens and plans for auctions as evidence.
Title 33 V.I.C. allows for property to be attached and sold within 30 days of publication of the notice of delinquent taxes in local publications. A listing of properties in delinquent payment status of 10 years or more was published in local newspapers in May 2011.
Property owners in delinquent payment status of 10 years or more were required to pay their past due taxes by July 1, 2011, in order to avoid the procedural attachment and auction of their properties, according to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
Property auctions for the St. Thomas/St. John district will be held January 25 and 26 at the Division of Personnel offices located in the GERS Building on St. Thomas. Potential bidders are encouraged to register between 8 and 9 a.m. on the day of the auction, as the auction will begin promptly at 9 a.m.
The Division of Real Property Tax advises property owners identified as delinquent to contact the Tax Collector’s Office in their respective district to make arrangements for payment in order to avoid the sale of their properties.
Property owners whose properties are in probate are asked to file their cases with the Recorder of Deeds Office in their respective district.
A list of the properties that have been attached in preparation for auction can be viewed at www.ltg.gov.vi.
For more information, contact the Tax Collector’s Office at 776-8505 on St. Thomas, 776-6737 on St. John, and on St. Croix, 773-1105 in Christiansted or 772-0120 for the Frederiksted office.