Tax Claim Life Cycle

When a taxpayer fails to pay his current taxes, the property is considered delinquent.  For most property taxes, the unpaid tax becomes delinquent after December 31st.  Generally, the tax collector turns these properties over to the county Tax Claim Bureau.

Once the county Tax Claim Bureau receives the property, it begins its journey through the Tax Claim Life Cycle.  We will explore each of these items in more depth in upcoming posts.

  • Return of Unpaid Taxes: at the end of the year, each tax collector submits a list of unpaid taxes to the Tax Claim Bureau
  • Return and Claim Notice: the Bureau sends notices to taxpayers that their properties have been turned in for unpaid taxes
  • Upset Sale: delinquent properties are auctioned *subject to all liens*
  • Private Sale: remaining delinquent properties are made available for private sale *subject to all liens;* there is no minimum bid price, but any sale offer made is published in the newspaper and all affected taxing districts may challenge the sale
  • Judicial Sale: remaining delinquent properties are auctioned *free and clear of all liens;* the county may set a minimum bid price equal to the costs incurred in administering the property
  • Repository for Unsold Property: remaining properties are compiled into a repository list and may be sold *free and clear of all liens* at any time and for any price

Please note that these are general guidelines. I am not a lawyer.  This article does not constitute legal advice.  Policies and procedures vary from county to county.  If you are interested in purchasing a delinquent tax claim property, you should contact an attorney familiar with the procedures in the county wherein the property is located.

Refer to the Real Estate Tax Sale Law for further information.