Frequently Asked Questions

Missouri Tax Sale Process

Getting Started


Will I need special equipment or software?

No. To participate in the auction from your own home or office, you need only have a computer with a supported Web browser installed and Internet access. If you do not have access to a computer or the internet, the County Collector’s office will provide internet.


How do I participate in the auction?

You must complete two separate registration steps, one with the County Collector and the other with CivicSource, and have both approved prior to the scheduled auction date. Once you have completed registration with CivicSource, have complied with all steps to register with the County Collector and been approved, and added a valid bank account in your CivicSource user account, you will be eligible to participate in the Missouri County’s auction.


When can I register for the auction?

You can register any time prior to the opening day of the auction, however it is strongly recommended that you complete all required registration efforts with CivicSource and the County Collector by Friday of the week prior to the auction.


How do I register for the auction?

Once you have finished creating a CivicSource user account, you should next complete registration with the Collector’s Office of the County in whose auction you wish to participate. The recommended steps to properly register are listed below. Additional information if needed is available at Missouri.CivicSource.com.

  1. Register on CivicSource.com. On the home page, click “SIGN UP FREE”, which can be found in the top banner of the page. Follow the prompts on the registration page and complete all required steps to set up your CivicSource user account. Continue to the Personal Information page and do the same there. Once you agree to the CivicSource terms, click “COMPLETE.”
  2. Register with the County. There are several ways to do this. One is to navigate to the website of the Collector for the County in whose auction you wish to participate. You must register for each County separately. For 2017, CivicSource is hosting the Clay County tax sale. To complete the Clay County bidder registration process, navigate to www.claycountymo.tax/taxsale and under the heading “Register Online,” click the green box labeled “tax sale registration affidavit.” Complete all fields in the affidavit. If you are a Missouri resident or owner of a registered Missouri business, fill out and submit the Missouri resident affidavit pursuant to RSMo. 140.190. If you are not a Missouri resident or registered Missouri business, you will need to appoint a resident of the County in which auction you wish to participate as your agent and complete the affidavit for a non-Missouri agent. Please be advised, these documents are to be completed as if under oath, and is a legally binding statement that must be completely true. As you approach the bottom of the form, you will be given an opportunity to click a link to the 2017 tax sale guidelines. You MUST click and read the guidelines before completing your affidavit. You will be legally responsible for the content of the guidelines, and they will govern the conduct of the sale, and the procedures to obtain a deed. They are based on RSMo. 140.190.2, which you should consider to be fully incorporated therein. Click “Submit” at the bottom of the form. Your application to bid will be automatically submitted to the County Collector’s office for approval.
  3. Confirm Your Bidder Application. On CivicSource.com, click on “AUCTIONS” at the top of the screen, then select “All Auctions” from the drop-down menu provided. Next, select “Missouri” under the Location filter on the left-hand side of the screen. Now click on any property listed, regardless of if you have specific interest in that particular property. You will be taken to a details page for the property you clicked. At the top of the property details page, select “Apply Now”. If you have completed all the steps listed, attest to the requirements and terms of the auction, and click “Apply for Approval.”


Is registration help available?

Yes, for assistance, you may contact us by toll-free phone call or by email, or contact the Collector’s Office of the County in whose auction you wish to participate.


Tax Sale Process


When are Missouri tax sales held?

For all but a few large counties called “charter counties”, Missouri law mandates that the annual County tax sale be held on the fourth Monday in the month of August, and commence at 10:00 A.M., and continue until all properties are offered or sold, pursuant to RSMo. 140.170.3 and RSMo. 140.190.1.



What am I purchasing at a Missouri tax sale – a "tax lien", "tax certificate" or “tax deed”?

In all but one specific exception, what is sold at a Missouri tax sale is most similar to a “tax lien” and is called a “Certificate of Purchase.” At a Missouri tax sale, you are bidding on the right to pay the delinquent taxes on a particular parcel of real estate and obtain the rights to be repaid with interest and with the future right to convert your interest to a deed if the amount you paid at the sale, plus accrued interest and applicable costs is not paid or “redeemed” within the applicable redemption period (see more detail below). The exception to this answer is if you have purchased a “Post-Third” or “Fourth Offering” property, which is actually a deed (“Collector’s Deed”) to the property in accordance with Missouri law.





Who gets notified about the tax sale?

Prior to the tax sale and any publication advertising the tax sale, the County Collector sends notice to the publicly recorded owner of record, first by first class mail, and second by certified mail, although only if the assessed value of the property is greater than $1,000. Section 140.150.2 RSMo. 2013. Typically, these two notices are sent on the same day. If the certified mail notice is returned unsigned, the collector will send out a third notice before the tax sale by first class mail to both the owner of record and the occupant of the property. Section 140.150.2 RSMo. 2010. Many Missouri Collectors also conduct a title search and send first class and/or certified notice to all identified lienholders prior to the tax sale.


Does the tax sale get advertised?

Yes, prior to the sale, the collector publishes a list of delinquent lands and lots in a newspaper of general circulation within the county. Lists are published once a week for three consecutive weeks prior to the sale with the last insertion at least fifteen days prior to the tax sale date. Section 140.170.1 RSMo. 2008.


Can a property be sold at tax sale if the owner is in bankruptcy?

No, an active bankruptcy action will “stay” the collection of delinquent taxes. If the debtor is discharged, the delinquent taxes are also discharged and the Collector cannot collect them. If for some reason the bankruptcy action is dismissed, or if the taxes the Collector wished to sell at tax sale became due after the bankruptcy filing date, the Collector can attempt to collect the delinquent taxes. In this instance, a bankruptcy stay would also stop the running of the statute of limitations.



Do I become the owner of the property immediately or is there a waiting period?

For “Post-Third” or “Fourth Offering” properties, you become the owner as soon as the Collector issues the Collector’s Deed, the time for which varies from County to County, but happens relatively quickly. For “1st, 2nd or 3rd Offerings”, there is a waiting period called the redemption period before you can take title to the property during which time anyone with an interest in the property has the absolute right to terminate your interest in the property by paying the delinquent taxes sold in the tax sale, subsequent taxes you may have paid, statutory interest and applicable costs. For “1st and 2nd Offering” properties, the redemption period is one year from the date of the tax sale; and for a “3rd Offering”, the redemption period is a minimum of 90 days after mailing the required post-sale interested party notices, but in no event longer than 135 days from the date of the tax sale. See: RSMo. 140.405, RSMo. 140.420, Sneil, LLC v. TYBE Learning Center 370 S.W.3d 562 (2012).


How much do I get paid if the tax sale is timely redeemed?

The redemption amount will include the starting bid amount for that property at the tax sale (less any post-sale due diligence costs), accrued interest thereon at the rate of 10% per annum (no interest accrues on any overbid or pre-paid, post-sale costs), any subsequent taxes paid by the tax sale purchaser along with interest at the rate of 8% per annum. In addition to these sums, for 1st and 2nd Offerings, all reasonable and customary post-auction due diligence costs incurred after March 1st of the year following the tax sale, and for 3rd Offerings, immediately after the tax sale shall be included in the redemption sum. This redemption sum will be paid to you by the Collector in exchange for a cancelation of your certificate of purchase. See: RSMo. 140.340 and RSMO 140.110.1.


How and when will I be notified if a timely redemption is made on a property I purchased at tax sale?

Upon deposit of the amount necessary to redeem the property, the collector must mail a notice of deposit for redemption to the purchaser at the last known post office address, or if that is not known, to the address shown for the purchaser on the record of the certificate of purchase. Such notice stops any further interest or penalty payment due the purchaser.
Section 140.340.2 and 3 RSMo. Supp. 2008.


Why is a property I previously saw as scheduled for the tax sale on CivicSource.com no longer showing up?

The County Collector continues to make every effort to collect the delinquent tax from the tax payor up until the time of the auction. If the delinquent taxes are paid, the property is removed from the tax sale. There are other legal reasons the County may no longer be able to sell the property such as when the tax payor files bankruptcy. If you need specific information on a removed property, contact the County Collector’s Office.


Can a property be removed from the auction after the auction has started?

Yes. The County Collector reserves the right to withdraw from the auction any property listed at any time prior to the closing of the auction. Additionally, properties receiving last minute payments before the auction begins may take a little while before it gets removed from the auction. When this occurs, it will be indicated as such on its full property description and details page. Additionally, if you have marked a property as a "Favorite" or placed a bid on property that is withdrawn from the auction, you will be notified by email.


What happens if a property is not sold during the auction?

If the property is being offered for the first time (“First Offering”), but fails to sell, it will be reoffered a second time in the following year’s tax sale (“Second Offering”). If the property fails to sell in the second sale, it will be re-offered a third time in the following year’s tax sale (“Third Offering”). If the property fails to sell at the Third Offering sale, it may be offered again as “Post-Third” or “Fourth Offering” sale, which allows the Collector to issue a Collector’s Deed for any amount, regardless of the delinquent taxes. See: RSMo. 140.240, RSMo. 140.250.1, and RSMo. 140.250.3.


Bidding Process


When:

You may bid on all properties only during auction hours. By law, all Missouri tax sale (excluding a handful of large “Charter Counties”) will take place on the fourth Monday in August of each year. The auction must begin at 10:00 A.M. and end once all properties have been offered. Of course, for an online auction, all properties are offered simultaneously at the start of the auction, so a specific end time of the auction is established and advertised. However, auction ending times on CivicSource.com are subject to Sliding Competitive Bidding close times. To emulate a live auction environment and to allow all bidders to have sufficient time to place a competing bid in response to a ‘last minute’ high bid, all CivicSource auctions utilize a “sliding close” end time. This means that if any bids are received in the last FIVE (5) minutes of the scheduled auction ending time, the close of bidding on that one particular property will be extended by FIVE (5) minutes. This process will continue indefinitely until there is a five minute period with no bids.


How:

All properties in the tax sale are offered for sale and become open for bidding simultaneously upon the start of the auction. Bidding on properties is accomplished via the full property description and details page. To be eligible to participate in the auction, bidders must have completed the registration process with the County Collector and with CivicSource and been approved as a bidder by both and have registered a valid bank account on CivicSource.com prior.


Type:

This is an open bidding process. Participants will submit bids with knowledge of the amounts of the competing bids. Additionally, if you placed a bid on a property and are outbid, you will be notified by email.


Overview:

The starting bid at a Missouri tax sale will be the combined amount of the delinquent tax owed on the property, accrued interest, legal penalties, all allowed pre-auction costs, and, if elected by the County Collector, the reasonable and customary costs for required post-auction due diligence performed on the winning bidder’s behalf by the County Collector. If more than one person bids on the property, there is no maximum amount which can be bid, and the property ultimately will be sold to the highest bidder as of the conclusion of the auction. If you are the successful bidder on any property, you must pay the amount of your winning bid immediately after the completion of the sale by ACH transaction from your registered bank account with CivicSource. If you wish to pay by bank wire, contact a CivicSource support representative for further instructions.


Winning:

The highest bid wins! Winners will only be determined at the conclusion of the auction or extended bidding time for each individual property, if applicable.


Questions by Investors Before Purchasing


How do I know which properties have been sold?

The easiest way is to search on CivicSource.com for the properties in the County and filter your search by “past” auction and “sold” status, then sort the results by most recent first.


Are there any hidden costs?

No. There are no hidden costs. All components of the tax sale purchase price are itemized on each property details page.


Is the price listed correct?

Yes. The price listed is on CivicSource.com is correct. Property data on CivicSource.com is synced and updated nightly with the County Collector.



Questions by Investors After Purchasing


When do I need to pay for my purchases?

All payments, including wire transfer confirmation, must be made or received immediately upon close of the auction for each property won. See: RSMo. 140.280.


What payment methods are accepted?

Payment must be made via ACH using a registered bank account or by bank wire. Please call us to arrange a wire transfer. A processing fee will apply per additional wire, if not paying in one installment. See: RSMo. 140.280.





Do I have to pay for all purchases? What happens if I do not pay for all purchases?

Yes. User account will be disabled and you will not be allowed to participate in any future sales. Additionally, if you fail to immediately submit payment in full for your winning bids, your bid may be canceled and offered to the runner-up bidder, or offered again at a future sale. If there is no runner-up bidder, or if the runner-up bidder(s) refuse to accept the bid, the original winning, defaulted bidder is charged a penalty of 25% of his bid to be paid to the school fund by Missouri law. The prosecuting attorney is required to collect the penalty in the name of the collector. Section 140.280 RSMo. Supp. 2008.


What happens to the amount of money that was bid over the starting bid price?

For properties that sold for a price higher than the starting bid, that amount in excess of the starting bid is considered “surplus funds” and is placed in the county treasury. If the funds are not claimed by the publicly recorded owner or owners, or their legal representatives (persons entitled to such moneys), within three years following the tax sale, the surplus becomes the property of the school fund. The public owners are the ones who owned the property prior to the sale. No interest is paid on surplus receipts. While it is not specified, presumably the three-year period begins to run from the sale date. Section 140.230 RSMo. 2013 and 140.280 RSMo. Supp. 2008, 2010.


Do I have to notify the owner or other interested parties that I purchased the property at tax sale?

This depends. Missouri law requires a title search and adequate due diligence to determine the interested parties to a property sold at tax sale DURING THE REDEMPTION PERIOD. Depending upon the County in which you are bidding, the Collector may, at his/her discretion, conduct this due diligence on your behalf, although in this event, you must still pay the costs. In Counties where the Collector has NOT opted to conduct the post-sale due diligence on your behalf, you are required to do so in accordance with Missouri law. You are permitted and it is usually strongly recommended to hire professionals experienced with this type of work to conduct these mandatory tasks for you.

Despite the foregoing general information, you should obtain legal advice as to your rights and obligations as a tax sale purchaser.


Is proof required of the post-sale due diligence work?

Yes. Regardless of whether the post-sale due diligence is performed by the Collector, you or any other third-party, an affidavit of compliance detailing all efforts and results of all post-sale due diligence work performed must be filled out, notarized and signed by the third-party agency that conducted the work and the tax sale purchaser. A copy of the title search and copies of the mailings/first class envelopes, must be attached to the affidavit. Section 140.405.5 RSMo. Supp. 2010.




Can I take physical possession of the property?

No. However, not until after the expiration of the applicable redemption period where redemption did not occur. The purchaser has the right to immediate possession one year after the sale date. Section 140.310.1 RSMo. 2000.

You should obtain legal advice before taking physical possession of a property purchased at a tax sale.



Do I have to do anything after the redemption period expires?

Yes. Pursuant to Section 140.410, RSMo.2015 you must satisfy the requirements to cause a deed to be executed and placed on record in the proper county within eighteen months from the date of said sale. Failure to do so results in the purchaser’s lien for the amount due such purchaser being extinguished.

Additionally, while not required by law, if a tax sale purchaser wishes to quiet title, the actions must be commenced within three years from the time the tax deed was recorded, except in cases where the person claiming to own the land is an infant or incapacitated. In those instances, action can be brought anytime within two years after the disability is removed. Section 140.590 RSMo. 2000.

You should obtain legal advice as to your rights and obligations as a tax sale purchaser.



When do I get a deed to the property?

If the property is not redeemed within the applicable redemption period, upon the production of a valid certificate of purchase, a notarized affidavit of compliance as described above, payment of all subsequent taxes and any remaining tax sale or post-sale due diligence costs or the costs of issuing a deed, the collector shall execute a deed to the purchaser which shall vest the grantee with an absolute estate in fee simple. Subject, however, to all claims for unpaid taxes except such unpaid taxes existing at the time of the purchase of the lands and the lien for which taxes was inferior to the lien for taxes for which said tract or lot of land was sold. Sections 140.250 and 140.420 RSMo. Supp. 2008 (wipes out inferior tax claims).


Questions by Owners Before the Sale


How do I find out if my property is being offered in a tax sale?

A number of ways. You can search for your property on CivicSource.com (you do not need to create a user account or be registered to bid to do this), you can search any lists available on the County Collector’s website, you may contact us or the Collector’s office.


Why is my property being sold in the tax sale?

Your property is being sold because the County Collector has determined there are past due taxes and/or liens associated with the property. Missouri law permits the Collector to offer the unpaid delinquency for sale to be paid by others so that it can receive those funds and disburse them to the County for annual revenue needed to run the County government.


What can I do to keep my property from being sold?

You can only prevent your property from being sold at a tax sale if you (1) are a member of the United States military on active duty and notify the collector of your active military status, pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 561; (2) pay the overdue taxes and/or liens no later than the day before the opening of the tax sale; or (3) file for bankruptcy.


Questions by Owners After the Sale



What do I need to do to redeem my property if it has been sold at tax sale?

To redeem the property, you must pay the amount of the delinquent taxes, interest and costs of the starting bid at the tax sale, interest at the rate of 10% per annum on that amount (no interest accumulates on any pre-paid, post-sale costs or any surplus bidding amount), the amount of any subsequent taxes paid on your behalf along with interest on that amount at the rate of 8%, and post-sale due diligence costs incurred immediately after the auction for “Third Offerings” sales and on or after March 1st of the year immediately following the tax sale for “1st or 2nd Offerings.”


How long do I have to redeem my property?

You should contact the County Collector’s Office immediately when you find out or if you think your property was sold at tax sale. Depending upon whether the delinquent taxes owed on the property has been offered at a prior year’s tax sale, you may have up to one year, but may have as few as 90 days to complete a redemption and prevent ownership of the property from being taken from you permanently. See: RSMo. 140.115, RSMo. 140.340, RSMo. 140.250.1, and RSMo. 140.250.4



Definitions


Ad valorem tax

(Latin for "according to value") means a tax based on the value of real estate or personal property.


Bid

means, for the purposes of tax sale, an offer of percent ownership interest to acquire tax sale title to property.


Bidder

means, for the purposes of tax sale, a person or entity participating in the tax sale auction.


Certified funds

means a form of payment that is guaranteed to clear or settle by the company certifying the funds.


means, in computing, a small piece of text stored on a user's computer by a web browser.


Delinquency

means, all real estate upon which the taxes remain unpaid on the first day of January, annually, and which the County Collector is allowed by law to enforce the lien of the State thereon, as required by Section 140 RSMo.



means the giving of a formal opinion regarding the substance or procedure of the law by an officer of the court, such as an attorney.


Open bidding

means, for the purpose of tax sale, the ability for competing bidders to see the prevailing winning bid amount.


Notice

means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or which is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.


Redeem

means completing a Redemption.


Redemption

means a statutorily-guaranteed process in which anyone with an interest in the property has the absolute right during the applicable Redemption Period to terminate the interest acquired by the Tax Sale Purchaser in the Tax Sale Property by paying the Total Delinquent Amount Due, plus interest accrued thereon at the rate of 10%, any subsequent taxes paid by the Tax Sale Purchaser, plus interest accrued thereon at the rate of 8%, plus any tax sale costs incurred by the Collector pre-sale, and any allowable post-sale due diligence costs incurred by the Collector and/or the Tax Sale Purchaser, subsequent taxes you may have paid, statutory interest and applicable costs.


Redemption period

means for properties sold at tax sale as a First and Second Offering, one year beginning the first calendar day after the tax sale, and for properties sold at tax sale as a Third Offering, 90 days from the date the post-sale notices are mailed, but not more than 135 days.


Send

means either of the following:
(a) To deposit in the U.S. Postal Service mail or deliver for transmission by any other commercially reasonable means of communication with postage or cost of transmission provided for, and properly addressed to any address reasonable under the circumstances.
(b) In any other way to cause to be received any written notice within the time it would have arrived if properly sent.


Tax debtor

means, as of the date of determination, the responsible party for payment of the taxes owed on the property.


Tax notice party

means the tax notice party, the owner of property, including the owner of record at the time of a tax sale, as shown in the conveyance records of the appropriate parish, and any other person holding an interest, such as a mortgage, privilege, or other encumbrance on the property, including a tax sale purchaser, as shown in the official public records of the County in which the property is situated.


Tax sale

means the annual sale of delinquent taxes owed on real property in a County at public auction with a starting price equal to the Total Delinquent Amount Due and ultimately sold to the highest bidder.


Tax sale party

means the tax notice party, the owner of property, including the owner of record at the time of a tax sale, as shown in the conveyance records of the appropriate parish, and any other person holding an interest, such as a mortgage, privilege, or other encumbrance on the property, including a tax sale purchaser, as shown in the official public records of the County in which the property is situated.


Tax sale property

means the real property on which the delinquency being offered in the tax sale is due.



Tax sale purchaser

means the purchaser of the Total Delinquent Amount Due on a given property at the tax sale.


Total delinquent amount due

means, for the purpose of tax sale, the total tax, interest, penalties, pre-sale costs and statutory impositions due by the property owner to the political subdivision causing the tax sale title to the property to be offered at sale.


Winning bid

means, for the purpose of tax sale, the highest bid submitted to pay for the Total Delinquent Amount Due as of the close of the auction for a particular property.


Disclaimer


Statement

The foregoing questions and answers are not intended as legal advice. All tax sale purchasers are advised to educate themselves as to the law and their legal rights and obligations as purchasers and/or to obtain the advice of an attorney. All former owners of properties sold at a tax sale are advised to obtain the advice of an attorney as to their legal rights and obligations.