When taxes are owed to either the Internal Revenue Service, the Minnesota Department of Revenue, or to local municipalities, there are a number of options available for either the taxpayer or the governmental entity which is owed the taxes.
In the case of a Minnesota taxpayer, Brower County is seeking to transfer ownership from the current owner, back to the county. By not paying the back taxes that are owed, the current owner's property will be forfeited.
News sources say that the property in question, the Marktplatz Mall in New Ulm, has one owner for the south half and a different owner for the north half. The north half of the mall is anchored by a Herberger's store, and is not behind in taxes. The south half does not have an anchor store and is largely vacant property used by mall walkers for exercise.
A Gaylord man who owns the south half is reportedly optimistic that a solution can be found for both a new store anchor, and the problem of his back taxes. He apparently owes $61,000 in what are presumably real estate taxes. The Gaylord man bought the south half in 2008 and since that time has not been able to fill the retail space. It is reportedly quite empty.
In most cases the government is not interested in being a property owner and would much rather simply collect the taxes which are owed. Counties, states and the IRS are often willing to work out an offer in compromise or other plan. A legal or other professional can help negotiate a payment plan or other option to allow a taxpayer to keep the property if possible.
Source: The Free Press, "Owner owes back taxes on ballroom, part of New Ulm mall," Brian Ojanpa, June 6, 2012