Any property not redeemed by March 15th following the lapse of four years from the date when the property became delinquent will be included in the Annual Delinquent Tax Sale held in May. This sale allows the county to recapture taxes due on any parcel that is more than four years delinquent. The sale of delinquent parcels are governed by state statute and county ordinance.
The Tax Sale listing will be available in the Utah County Recorder’s Office, Ste 1300, on the first floor of the Utah County Administration Bldg and on the internet four weeks immediately preceding the date of the Tax Sale and will be updated weekly.
The Tax Sale is held annually on either the 3rd or 4th Thursay of May. Bidders may register online or at the door. Bidder registration and check-in will begin at 9am and the auction will start promptly at 10 am (MDT) in the Utah County Health & Justice Building (room 2500), 151 South University Avenue, Provo, Utah 84606.
Delinquent property listings are published in a newspaper of general circulation for 4 weeks prior to the sale. Public notices will be published in either The Daily Herald, Deseret News, or Salt Lake Tribune starting in mid to late April depending on the exact date the Tax Sale is held in May. The notices will appear in either the Thursday, Friday or Sunday editions.
Delinquent property may be redeemed on behalf of the owner of record by any person at any time prior to the Sale. A person redeeming the delinquent property must pay to the Treasurer the total delinquent amount including taxes, interest, penalties and the administrative costs. Property may only be redeemed up to the time of the sale. Once the auction has begun, no redemption can be made. Utah State law does not allow for a post sale redemption period.
County Ordinance 21-5-4. Prohibition of Collusive Bidding. Collusive bidding is prohibited, and all bids submitted and the tax deed issued thereafter will only be executed in the name of an individual successful purchaser. Collusive bidding is defined as any agreement or understanding reached by two (2) or more parties that changes the bids the parties would otherwise offer absent the agreement or understanding. The County Clerk/Auditor and/or the Board of County Commissioners have the right to reject any bid deemed collusive. (Ord. No. 1996-07, 04-30-96; Ord. No. 2000-11, 04-11-2000)
You may register online beginning one week prior to the sale. Online registration will open until 4 pm the day before the sale. Individuals may also register in person on the day of the sale. Bidder registration and check-in will begin at 9:00 am. There is no fee or deposit required to register. Winning bidders however need to make payment in full to the County Treasurer’s office with cash, certified check, or money order within 60 minutes after the end of the first round of bidding. Any parcels not paid for on time will be auctioned off in the second round bidding.
The successful bidder on a parcel would have to pay the full amount to the Utah County Treasurer's office within 60 minutes of the close of the sale. Utah County ordinance limits acceptable methods of payment to the Utah County Treasurer for properties purchased at the May Tax Sale to cash, certified check, or money order. No other forms of payment will be accepted. All transactions must be presented in person and concluded within 60 minutes after the close of the sale. There is no financing available through Utah County.
County Ordinance 21-5-6. Criteria for Accepting or Rejecting Bids. (g) Once the County Clerk/Auditor has closed the sale of a particular parcel of property as a result of accepting a bid on the parcel, the successful bidder or purchaser of the property may not unilaterally rescind the bid. The Board of County Commissioners, after the acceptance of a bid, may enforce the terms of the bid by obtaining a legal judgment against the purchaser in the amount of the bid, plus interest and attorney’s fees.
Utah State law does not permit the sale of tax liens or tax lien certificates. This in accordance with Utah State Statute Title 59 Chapter 2 Section 1351.1. Successful bidders will be provided with a recorded tax deed, which is similar to a quit claim deed. Tax deeds will only be issued and recorded after the sale and all accepted bids have been ratified by the Utah County Commission, usually between 60 to 90 days after the close of the sale. This waiting period allows for any protest of the sale to be filed and decided prior to the ratification of the sale by the County Commission. Tax Deeds will be issued in the name of the winner bidder as listed on the bidder registration form. Individuals or businesses may register to bid at the sale.
County Ordinance 21-5-14. Disclaimers by the County with respect to Sale Procedures and Actions. (d) Due to the backlog of property transactions at the Utah County Recorder’s Office, Utah County has the right to delay the issuance of tax deeds for the annual real property tax sale, for a period of up to four months. (Ord. No. 1996-07, 04-30-96)
Parcels offered for bid at the May Tax Sale are sold, at the discretion of the Clerk/Auditor conducting the sale, using two type of sale procedures; Bid Up (sold to the highest bidder) and Undivided Interest (lowest percentage of ownership share).
Unimproved or “vacant” parcels will typically be sold to the highest bidder or the Bid-Up process. The bidding will start with a minimum opening bid that includes taxes, penalties, interest, and the administrative cost of the sale. The bid amounts will continue to increase until the parcel up for sale is sold to the highest bidder.
Improved parcels or parcels with homes or other buildings on them will typically be sold for a percentage of the ownership share or Undivided Interest. The term "Undivided Interest" refer to the percent ownership the winner bidder will get in the complete or undivided parcel. Utah County does not subdivide parcels through the tax sale process. The bidding will start with a minimum opening bid that includes taxes, penalties, interest, and the administrative cost of the sale for 100% of the undivided interest. Bidding will continue as the percentage of ownership only will decrease. The winner bidder will be final remaining bidder who, for the amount of taxes, penalties, interest and fees due, will accept the lowest percentage of ownership in the property. The remaining percentage of ownership not sold will be retained by the original owner. This is in accordance with Utah Code 59-2-1351.7.
Please note: The County Clerk/Auditor that administers the sale may use either procedure if he or she determines the chosen bid process more fully protects the interest of the property owner and the interest of the public. As per County Ordinance 21-5-6 Criteria for Accepting or Rejecting Bids.
County Ordinance 21-5-14. Disclaimers by the County with respect to Sale Procedures and Actions. (a) Properties sold during the annual real property tax sale shall be conveyed by Tax Deed. This form of deed is not a warranty deed. The County makes no representations as to the title conveyed, nor as to the purchaser’s right of possession of the property. Similarly, the County makes no warranties or representations as to whether the property is buildable or developable, nor does the County make any representations regarding whether the property complies with applicable zoning regulations. The County does not warrant or represent that any property purchased during the Tax Sale is habitable or in any particular condition. The County also makes no warranties or representations regarding the accuracy of the assessment of the property or the accuracy of the description of the real estate or improvements thereon.
Any bidder who wishes to understand exactly what will happen when a Tax Deed is issued by the county for a specific property must consult their own legal counsel or title company. No employee or elected official of Utah County can provide any type of legal or non-legal advice related to the tax sale. Any information given by phone, mail, or email that conveys information beyond the scope of the procedures of the tax sale will be considered the unqualified personal opinion of the author and does not officially represent the county's position.
All unsold properties become the property of Utah County and are administered by the Public Works department. Currently there is no formal process for purchasing property that was unsold at the May Tax Sale and the county does not offer any type of “over the counter” property sales at the Recorder’s Office.
If you would like to make an inquiry about a specific unsold property, in which you have a qualifying interest, you must contact the Public Works Department at 801-851-8600. The Public Works Director may entertain legitimate offers to purchase unsold tax sale properties for a reasonable value including all taxes and other costs related to the property. This offer would then be forwarded to the Utah County Commission for approval.
If you would like to see a list of properties that went to auction but did not sell you may go to http://www.utahcounty.gov/LandRecords/DocKoiForm.asp. Once at this site, type "ATD" in the Kind of Instrument (KOI) Search box.
County Ordinance 21-5-13. Procedures for Disclosing Properties Withdrawn from the Sale for Reasons other than Redemption. Utah County shall have the right and authority to remove any parcel of property from the annual real property tax sale for any reason at any time before or during the sale. Disclosure will be made by the County Clerk/Auditor before or during the sale of all properties withdrawn from the sale for reasons other than redemption. (Ord. No. 1996-07, 04-30-96)
Any funds in excess of the amount for delinquent taxes, penalty, interest and administrative fees will be forwarded to the State Treasurer and treated as unclaimed property under Title 67. This process will take place after the sale has been ratified by the Utah County Commission and after any contested bids have been settled, if there are any. The excess funds will be forwarded to the State Treasurer's Office, Unclaimed Property Division usually no later than November 30 each year.
Property owners that had a parcel sold at the Tax Sale to the highest bidder, may check the Unclaimed Property Division website at http://www.mine.utah.gov/index.asp and make a claim for any excess funds that you may or may not be due.
From time to time, the Clerk/Auditor's Office receives infomercial based form letters asking the following questions. The following is a summary of those questions with answers:
Utah County does not publish these records on its website. However each list may be obtained through the use of a GRAMA request. GRAMA is short for the State of Utah's Government Records Access and Management Act. In order to obtain either of these records, you must completely fill out a GRAMA form and submit it to the records officer for Utah County. You may get his/her email by calling the Utah County Attorney's office at (801) 851-8026. Below is a link to download the form.