Tax Assessment & Claims
BEDFORD COUNTY TAX CLAIM BUREAU
COURT HOUSE SUITE # 104
200 SOUTH JULIANA STREET
BEDFORD, PENNSYLVANIA 15522
(814) 623-4834 Fax
The primary function of the Tax Claim Bureau is to collect delinquent REAL ESTATE taxes on property located within Bedford County, in accordance with the Real Estate Tax Sale Law Act of 1947, P.L. 1368, No. 542, as amended.
HOW IT WORKS
Real Estate tax bills are issued two times per year. In early February you will receive from your Tax Collector the County and Municipality portion of your bill. In early August, the School tax bill is mailed. If either bill is unpaid as of December 31st it is turned over to the Tax Claim Bureau by January 15th of the following year. As an example, unpaid 2020 taxes are turned over to our office by January 15, 2021. Please note that failure to receive your tax bill does NOT exonerate you from paying the taxes and any penalty, cost, or interest which accrues. The Tax Claim Bureau collects only real estate taxes. We do not collect any personal or occupational tax.
Interest accrues on the unpaid amount at the rate of 9% per year, or .75% each month, beginning February 1st of the year it’s turned over to us as delinquent. For unpaid 2020 taxes, interest is added as of February 1, 2021. We also add a rate of $15.00 to each delinquent parcel for each taxing entity, to offset the cost of processing each delinquency.
Notices are sent by the Tax Claim Bureau to the property owner mid-February. In recent years we have been sending the initial notice by first class mail because many people are unable to get to the Post Office to pick up certified mail. By law we are REQUIRED to send notice by certified mail no later than July 31st, so for any tax from the prior year which remains unpaid we send a certified notice, usually in February.
If that notice is not picked up by the property owner, and those taxes are not paid, we are REQUIRED by law to POST a notice of the delinquency on the property in a conspicuous location. This is NOT done to embarrass anyone; the purpose is to give due process notice of the delinquency to the property owner.
If the tax remains unpaid it will put the property in jeopardy of being sold at an Upset Sale in September of the following year. Before that happens, at least two more notices will be sent, one by Certified, Restricted Delivery mail to each owner, and another by first class mail to each owner, both of which are required by law. Other legal requirements include posting a sale notice on the property, and advertisement of the properties in at least two newspapers and the Legal Journal for Bedford County.
OPTIONS FOR PAYMENT
We do not accept personal checks or business checks for payment. We DO accept CASH if you pay in person. Please do not ever mail cash! We also accept Credit, Debit cards or E-checks (with an additional fee charged), Money Orders, Certified Checks or Cashier’s Checks. You may pay in person at our office located on the 1st floor of the Courthouse in Bedford, or you may mail your payment. You may also pay online or by phone if using the E-check, Credit or Debit card option. For any method of payment you should provide your tax number to ensure that the proper account is credited, especially if you own multiple properties. If you mail your payment and desire a receipt you should include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
We DO accept PARTIAL PAYMENTS. The minimum payment is $50.00. You may pay as much as you wish, but no less than $50.00. Interest continues to accrue on the unpaid balance. Payments will be applied to the oldest year’s taxes first. Making partial payments does NOT remove a property from the sale list. All taxes which put a property in jeopardy of sale must be paid in full to avoid having the property included on the Upset Sale. The only exception to that is if you have received a Stay of Sale Agreement.
As the Upset Sale year starts you may request a Stay of Sale Agreement. This is done at the option of the Tax Claim Bureau. However, if you have been given a Stay of Sale Agreement in the past, and defaulted on that agreement, we are prohibited by law from giving you another agreement for three years. For a Stay of Sale Agreement you will be required to make an initial payment equal to at least 25% of the total amount due for all delinquent tax years, and then subsequent monthly payments of a specified amount for approximately 8 or 9 months until the delinquency is satisfied in full.
Using 2020 taxes, the procedure follows this timeline:
January 15, 2021 Unpaid taxes are turned over to the Tax Claim Bureau no later than this date.
February 2021 Notice of the delinquency is sent to the property owner by certified notice in mid-February.
April 2021 Property will be posted if the certified notice is not picked up and the 2020 tax is not paid.
May 31, 2022 Last day to pay taxes before additional sale preparation costs are added.
June 1, 2022 Sale preparation cost of $50.00 is added to each parcel.
July 1, 2022 Posting cost of $50.00 is added to each parcel. Properties listed for sale must be posted.
August 1, 2022 Advertisement cost of $50.00 is added to each parcel. All properties listed for sale must be advertised.
September 2022 Upset Sale will be held for any property with 2020 delinquent taxes remaining unpaid. An exact date for the sale has not yet been determined.
PLEASE NOTE THAT FOR ANY PROPERTY WITH 2019 DELINQUENT TAXES, THE TIMELINE IS ONE YEAR EARLIER – THOSE PROPERTIES WILL BE INCLUDED ON THE UPSET SALE TO BE HELD IN SEPTEMBER 2021.