Tax Sale Procedures



General Tax Sale Policies & Procedures

Sale of properties that are in their 5th year of delinquency.

The sale is held annually in May usually before Memorial Day. Delinquent property listings are posted on this website starting 4 weeks prior to the sale to coincide with the public notices published in the newspaper. Public notices will be published in either The Daily Herald, Deseret News, or Salt Lake Tribune starting 4 weeks prior to the sale. The notices will appear in either the Thursday, Friday or Sunday editions.

Format of Public Notice for Parcels Listed for Sale Click to Expand
The Public Notice has the following detail on each parcel for sale:
  • Parcel Number (Tax District Number)
  • Name of Current Property Owner
  • Owner’s Mailing Address (The address listed is the mailing address and not necessarily the property address)
  • Total Amount if paid as of the date of the Tax Sale
All payoff amounts are calculated as of the date of the tax sale. Parcels redeemed prior to the date of the tax sale may be redeemed at a lower amount.

The Tax Sale is BUYER BEWARE Click to Expand
Properties sold during the May Tax Sale shall be conveyed by Tax Deed. This form of Deed is not a Warranty Deed. As a purchaser, you assume all risks related to the property. The County makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees as to any property sold at the tax sale. By way of example only, and not by way of limitation, the County makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee as to whether the property exists, is buildable or developable, is subject to claims of other parties, is encumbered by liens, easements, mortgages, trust deeds, tax liens, assessments or other interests, is habitable, complies with zoning regulations, has access, does not have access, is contaminated or free of contamination, is properly assessed, or is properly described.

Successful bidders assume all risks and liabilities associated with the property including, but is not limited to, additional property tax assessment, existing liens or other encumbrances, or fines levied by any government agency. Utah County does not provide any information to any prospective buyer beyond what is available through the Utah County website. Prospective buyers are responsible to do all research they deem necessary to evaluate the properties they are interested in purchasing at the sale. The Utah County Tax Administration office does not provide any advice, legal or otherwise, to any prospective buyer beyond answering questions related to the procedures of administering the sale.

All sales are final! Utah County does not issue refunds for any reason unless a sale is invalidated by order of the Utah County Commission or another adjudicating body.

General Sale Procedures Click to Expand
  • Prior to the day of the sale, properties can be pulled from the sale for any of the following reasons:
    • If the county finds statutory notice requirements have not been met by the county.
    • The existance of an erroneous legal description or duplicate assessment.
    • A active bankruptcy that includes the parcel listed for sale.
    • A payment agreement for deferral or settlement of deliquent taxes has been granted by the Utah County Commission.
    • The parcel has been redeemed by payment of the property taxes.
    • Any other reason deemed appropriate by the Utah County Auditor.
  • A parcel can be redeemed at any point in time prior to the sale before the first bid is offered. The owner of record, or someone on his/her behalf, can redeem the parcel by paying to the County Treasurer, via certified funds, the total amount of taxes, penalties, interest, and fees due. When a payment is made, the parcel will be pulled from the sale and remain in the name of the owner of record.
  • Any payment made by any party for any parcel listed on the sale prior to the first bid being offered, will count towards the redemption of the parcel from the sale. If a third party were to pay the total amount of taxes, penalties, interest and fees due, prior to the first bid being offered, the parcel would be considered redeemed from the sale and ownership would remain with the owner of record. A third party cannot aquire any ownership interest in a parcel on the sale by paying any portion of the deliquent taxes prior to the first bid being offered.
  • A property owner or lienholder CANNOT better their position by purchasing their parcel at the tax sale. This includes having family, friends, or associates buying the property and quit claiming it back to the owner. If a lien holder, associate, or owner bids on and purchases their parcel at the sale, it will be considered a redemption and no new deed will be issued by Utah County.
  • The County Clerk/Auditor reserves the right to prevent bidders from participating in the auction or accept bids from bidders that he/she has reason to believe may be attempting to violate this policy. This includes preventing a winning bidder from paying a winning bid to the Treasurer on the day of the sale and/or not allowing the bid to be ratifed by the Utah County Commission after the sale.
  • All opening bids will be for the total amount of taxes, penalties, interest, and administrative fees.
  • The cost of recording Tax Deeds issued by the county are covered by the administrative fee portion of the total bid.
  • Successful bids must be paid to the Utah County Treasurer or through the online auction vendor as directed within the time frame required. Payment of winning bids must be in the form of cash, certified check, money order, or other form of payment as authorized by the Utah County Clerk/Auditor. (As per county ordinance 21-5-10)

Prohibition of Collusive Bidding Click to Expand
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)

This is in accordance with Utah County Ordinance 21-5-4

How the Auction proceeds-Bid-Up/Highest Bidder Click to Expand
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).

A bid-up sale means 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. The end result of this type of sale is that the county will convey ownership from the previous owner to the winning bidder through the issueance and recording of a tax deed. Property conveyed by Tax Deeds are sold as is. The winning bidder assumes all liablity for whatever condition the propety is in. The winning bidder also assumes all liability for all legal action that may need to be taken after the sale to ensure clean title to the property. When the propety being sold is a "killed" parcel, the winning bidder assumes all tax liability for any past due taxes owing on the current or "active" parcel. At the sale these parcels can also be referred to as "parent/child" or "better described as" parcels.

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.

How the Auction proceeds-Undivided Interest Bidding Click to Expand
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).

The term "Undivided Interest" refers to the percentage of ownership the winning 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 an opening bid that includes taxes, penalties, interest, and the administrative cost of the sale for 100% of the undivided interest. As bidding continues, the percentage of ownership will be bid down. The winner bidder will be final remaining bidder who, for the amount of taxes, penalties, interest and fees due, accepts the lowest percentage of ownership in the property. The remaining percentage of ownership not sold will be retained by the original owner. At the end of the sale, the property will now have two owners. The original owner and the winning bidder will be co-owners of the property. This is in accordance with Utah Code 59-2-1351.1 and Utah County Ordinance 21-5-6. Winning bidders who purchase an undivided interest in a parcel should refer to Utah Code 59-2-1351.7 for further information about undivided interest.

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.

How the Auction proceeds-Preferred Sale and Preferred Bidder Status Click to Expand
Utah County Ordinance 21-5-8 states the following:
21-5-8. Criteria for Granting Bidder Preference.
    (a) At the discretion of the County Auditor a parcel of real property may be offered as a Preferred Sale to bidders who are granted Preferred Bidder Status as provided for herein.
    (b) Preferred Sale” is the sale of a single, designated parcel of real property being offered for sale at the annual property tax sale in which;
      (1) Only bidders that have been granted Preferred Bidder Status will be able to participate
      (2) If no bids are received during the Preferred Sale, the sale of the designated parcel shall proceed under normal operating procedures (not a Preferred Sale) and all bidders, not otherwise disqualified, will be able to participate.
    (c) A parcel may be offered as a Preferred Sale if it meets the following criteria:
      (1) The parcel has been determined not to be an economically viable unit of property to other than a preferential interest based upon consideration of such characteristics as size, shape, access, zoning, or other factors that may affect the economic value and use of the parcel, or
      (2) A non-preference sale of the parcel would create a nuisance and/or cloud upon an existing interest in the property and could unreasonably diminish the value of such an interest.
    (d) “Preferred Bidder Status” may be granted to bidders who meet the following criteria:
      (1) The bidder can demonstrate a possessory interest in the parcel being offered for Preferred Sale, or
      (2) The bidder owns a parcel or parcels that abut the parcel being offered for Preferred Sale.
Any individual that believes they may qualify for "Preferred Bidder Status" must complete and submit an "APPLICATION REQUESTING PREFERRED BIDDER STATUS FOR PROPERTY LISTED FOR SALE ON MAY TAX SALE" no later than 14 days prior to the sale. If you did not recieve an application in the mail with a courtsey notice informing you of the sale, you may get one on the Forms and Questions page.

All applications will be reviewed and a decision mailed out out no later than the Friday before the sale.

Links to Tax Sale Laws