Property Tax Sales
Each year, almost every county in Indiana holds at least one tax sale. Generally, if a landowner has been delinquent on property taxes since the prior year’s first installment, the property may become tax sale eligible. The county auditor is required to send certified notices and publish newspaper advertisements alerting the delinquent landowners of a lien on the property and that it will be sold at a tax sale.
If the landowner does not pay the delinquent taxes, the county auditor files for a judgment for collection of unpaid taxes. The judgment permits the sale of property at a tax sale.
At the tax sale, the buyer purchases a lien on the property, not property itself. The landowner has one (1) year from the date of the sale to redeem the property.
Indiana law says that the buyer notify interested parties within nine (9) months of the tax sale allowing interested parties the opportunity to redeem the property by the end of the one (1) year redemption period.
If the landowner does not redeem, the buyer should file a petition for tax deed. The court will consider the petition and order the auditor to prepare the tax deed. A property executed tax deed will remove all liens on the property.
The buyer must comply with Indiana law in order to obtain the tax deed. If the property procedures are not followed a buyer can forfeit his right to the property and lose his investment. An attorney can assist a buyer in fulfilling these legal requirements. Generally, if the property is redeemed, the owner is required to reimburse your attorney fees.
If you purchased a tax lien/tax sale certificate, call the Griner Law Office at (574) 255-1776 or email us at GaryGriner@GrinerLaw.com for a free consultation (in person or by telephone). We may be able to assist you and be sure that your investment is protected.
Frequently Asked Questions About Property Tax Sales:
Q: When can I take possession of the property?
A: Only after you have been issued a tax deed to the property by your county auditor.
Q: When can I apply for tax deed?
A: If the property has not been redeemed, the holder of the tax sale certificate must petition for a tax deed to the real property within six months after the expiration of the redemption period. If the tax lien purchaser fails to do so, the lien against the property is terminated according to IC 6-1.1-25-7(a). Please review the Indiana Code carefully to understand the requirements for securing a tax deed. Legal assistance from a qualified tax sale attorney is recommended.
Q: Can a tax sale lien be assigned?
A: The purchaser of the lien may assign it to another party by completing the assignment section on the back of the tax sale certificate issued to the purchaser. The auditor must be notified to change the owner of record of the tax sale lien certificate.
Q: If the lien purchased is redeemed, will I get my money back?
A: You will receive all of the purchase price back plus a minimum of 10% return on the minimum bid. In some circumstances, you may be entitled to reimbursement of your attorney fees and title search fees.
Q: What is the redemption period?
A: The redemption period is twelve (12) months for a certificate sold by the treasurer.
Q: Will other liens be cleared from the property as a result of the sale?
A: Liens will not be removed as a result of the purchase of the lien. However, if you as the tax lien buyer comply with the laws and acquire a tax deed on the property, all liens will be removed.