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As of Monday afternoon, about 40 Salt Lake County homeowners were in danger of having their residences auctioned for back taxes during the county's annual tax sale on Wednesday.

Each year in May the county sells properties on which no property taxes have been paid for the previous five years. The sale allows collection of delinquent taxes, but it means some owner-occupants are in danger of losing their homes.County treasurer Art Monson feels solutions can still be worked out to save about 90 percent of the threatened owner-occupied homes from auction. But he's convinced several will be sold.

"Those are situations where the home could have been sold for taxes last year, but a deferment was granted. Unfortunately, the owners didn't keep their promises to pay their back taxes on schedule," Monson said.

Monson's office is responsible to collect property taxes in Salt Lake County. No effort is made to preserve commercial property or rental units from tax sale, but the treasurer works to keep owner-occupied homes from the auction.

Employees visit every home listed for tax sale and talk to the owner or leave a letter explaining that the home is in jeopardy and back taxes must be paid.

Some owners qualify on the basis of age and medical condition for a low-income deferment that will allow them to pay no property taxes until the home is sold following the owner-occupant's death.

Unfortunately, many of those eligible for such deferments are unaware they qualify until their homes are in peril and treasurer's employees contact them prior to tax sale.