Welcome to Tax Claims, The Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax Sale Law was created by Legislative Act 542 of 1947. The Act provides for a uniform, state wide, procedure for the collections of delinquent real estate taxes.
The Cumberland County Tax Claim Bureau is responsible for the collection of all delinquent real property taxes on behalf of the county and various municipalities and school districts within Cumberland County as well as Rollback Taxes incurred through Act 319 of Pennsylvania State Legislature, commonly known as the “Clean and Green” program.
In the collection process, the Bureau receives unpaid accounts from the 33 municipal tax collectors, provides mandated notice to owners, receives delinquent tax payments and administers tax foreclosures. The Bureau also provides Tax Certifications regarding paid and unpaid delinquent taxes and delinquent tax files to various entities upon request.
Procedure & Timeline for Collection of Delinquent Taxes
Full year real estate taxes are mailed out in March and July. They are collected by each municipality’s tax collector. If taxes are not paid by December 31st of the year that the bills are issued, each collector turns all uncollected balances over to the Tax Claim Bureau as delinquent for further collection. Per 72 P.S. 5860.303 (a) (c), uncollected taxes are returned to the Tax Claim Bureau between January 1st and January 15th of the following year after taxes are assessed. Interim or part year tax bills can only be turned over to the Tax Claim Bureau as delinquent if they are in the penalty phase by December 31st. (It is the responsibility of the taxing authority to notify taxpayers of the collection deadline on their tax bills).
The Bureau will send out a “Notice of Claim” which notifies each property owner of the delinquent taxes owed on the property. These notices are generally mailed by certified mail in February of the year after the tax was due. The tax claim becomes “absolute” if it is not paid by December 31st of the year it was turned over to the Tax Claim Bureau, and no exceptions are filed.
On the 1st of July, of the 2nd year after the original tax bill was issued by the local tax collector, if still not paid, the property will become eligible for Upset Sale. The owner will receive notice, and the property will be advertised, posted and offered at public auction for sale. The advertising will be done in July and will appear in The Sentinel, The Patriot-News, and the Cumberland Law Journal. Payment after July 1st, but prior to actual sale date will stop the sale, however the property will be subject to the above mentioned proceedings and charged with sale fees.
The Yearly Upset Sale is normally held the 3rd Thursday in September. If the property is not sold at the Upset Sale, it will be listed to be sold at a Judicial Sale.
The last opportunity for the taxpayer to pay the taxes due to avoid the property being exposed at any tax sale would be prior to the close of business the day before the sale. Credit / Debit card transactions must be completed three days prior to tax sale.
Monies collected by the bureau are distributed on a quarterly basis to the municipality or school district to which the tax is owed.