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|Vesta Holdings Completes $23 Million Delinquent Tax Lien Transfer from Fulton County|
(Atlanta, Georgia, July 2006) Vesta Holdings, the leading tax lien purchaser in the state of Georgia, announced the transfer of $23,455,465 in tax liens from Futon County, one of the largest tax lien transfers ever in the state.
"Lien sales maintain equity in the property tax system by assuring that conscientious and timely taxpayers are not unfairly burdened and forced to pay increased millage rates to make up for individuals who disregard their tax obligations," said John E. (Buddy) Ramsey, of Vesta Holdings. "This transaction is a winner for Fulton County, Fulton County Schools, Atlanta, Atlanta Public Schools and the taxpayers. The $23 million represents property taxes for years 1999 to 2005 that have not been paid".
The majority of the funds transferred represent delinquencies on properties that have no homestead exemption filed; over 85% of the amount due is from commercial, industrial or rental property. No liens were transferred on properties with senior citizen exemptions.
When real estate taxes are unpaid, a lien is placed on the property which can be transferred to a third party. When the transfer occurs, the third party pays all of the back taxes due to the county and is then allowed to collect the amount due and the statutory interest from the delinquent taxpayer. When the taxes are paid, the lien is cancelled. The advantage for county governments in transferring tax liens is that they receive tax revenues immediately with no additional collection costs. In this transaction, Vesta Holdings bears the burden of carrying the tax liens, collection and the risk of non-payment. Through Vesta, delinquent taxpayers benefit in that they have the ability to work out payment plans and are not faced with immediate tax foreclosure if they do not have sufficient funds to fully satisfy their outstanding taxes. The rate of interest and fees charged to the taxpayer are the same as those charged by the Tax Commissioner. Without having to sell the properties on the courthouse steps, the Tax Commissioner receives the all taxes, penalties and interest due at the time of transfer.
Dr. Arthur E. Ferdinand, Fulton County Tax Commissioner, commented "During the legislative session, I pressed for revisions to the tax code that would provide for a taxpayer friendly law allowing for the transfer of tax liens. I am pleased to announce that this is the first transfer in the state in accordance with the changes to the tax code which allows property owners at least an extra year to pay and provides for multiple notices. Vesta Holdings also offers payment plans, which my office is barred by law from doing. The school systems, county and cities will get their budgeted revenue needed for teachers, fire protection and police now, instead of waiting years for payment."
Ferdinand also noted that the tax transfer program is another of the Tax Commissioner’s efforts to streamline revenue collection, while simultaneously offering as many options as possible to those taxpayers behind in their payments. Ferdinand and Fulton County have transferred liens since 1997, and during this period have consistently maintained one of the highest collection rates in the state, at over 99% annually.
ABOUT VESTA HOLDINGS –
Vesta Holdings is the largest purchaser of delinquent county and municipal real estate tax liens in the State of Georgia. Since its formation, Vesta has purchased over 146,000 tax liens valued at over $240 million, producing tangible benefits to both taxing authorities and taxpayers. These otherwise uncollected revenues supply current fiscal year funding to counties, municipalities and school systems for teachers, police, fire departments, libraries, health care and other necessary services. For residential taxpayers who find themselves in financial distress, Vesta offers payment plans that cannot be offered by traditional collection methods; for commercial taxpayers, Vesta provides payment plans that work with the owner’s business plan. Vesta Holdings is a private, Georgia-based company formed in 1998 with offices located at 1737-G Ellsworth Industrial Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30318. The mailing address is 1266 West Paces Ferry Road, Box 517, Atlanta, GA 30327.