|BACK TAX SALE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q - When, where and what time is the back tax sale held?
A - State law requires that the sale be held on the fourth Monday in August of each year in or near the
County Court House. Sale time is 10:00 a.m.
Q - How many years must a property be delinquent before it is offered for sale?
A - In Miller County, a property must be delinquent three years before it is offered at a back tax sale. Other
Missouri counties offer after two years and some after one year.
Q - How much do I have to pay to buy a property at a back tax sale?
A - The sale is conducted like any other public auction. The starting bid is the combined amount of the
unpaid tax, interest, penalty, advertising cost and any other cost related to the sale. If more than one person
bids on the property, the property is sold to the highest bidder, and the cost would be the amount of the final
bid. If you are the successful bidder you must pay the amount of your bid immediately after the completion
of the sale.
Q - Is the property mine the day of the sale?
A - If you are the successful bidder on the day of the sale, you will receive a "Tax Sale Certificate of
Purchase." This "Certificate" becomes a part of the permanent record in the Collector's Office and verifies
that you were the successful bidder on the day of the sales. After a one-year waiting period you can present
your "Certificate" to the County Collector in exchange for a Collectors Deed." Once the "Collectors Deed" is
properly recorded, you are the lawful owner of record.
Q - Why must I wait one year before receiving a deed?
A - Because the owner of record on the day of the sale has a one-year right to redeem the property. That is,
any time during the next one year following the day of the sale, the owner can come forward and pay to the
Collector all tax, interest, penalty, advertising cost and all related costs and will again become the full owner
of record. This is called "Redeeming the property."
Q - If someone "Redeems" his/her property, how do I get my money back?
A - If the property is "Redeemed" the county Collector will collect the money from the original owner. You
will then receive all the money you paid on the day of the sale plus interest (interest is paid only on the
amount of unpaid tax & expense of the sale is not paid on the surplus) from the county Collector. Once you
receive the money your "Tax Sale Certificate of Purchase" becomes invalid and must be returned to the
Collector at the time you receive your money back.
Q - Who pays the taxes during the one-year redemption period?
A - You, the holder of the "Tax Sales Certificate of Purchase," will be billed for the tax during the one-year
Q - What can I do to the property to improve or change it during the redemption period?
A - That is entirely up to you. Just remember anything you do or money you spend on the property could be
lost if the property is redeemed.
Q - Does a back tax sale clear the property of all other liens?
A - No. The only lien that is cleared through the tax sale process is the property tax. The property may also
have other liens such as mortgage(s), income tax liens, judgments, levies, etc.
Q - Prior to the sale, how would I know or find out about other possible liens against the property?
A - The only sure way to find out is to do a lien search of the public record. Most title and abstract
companies will charge a fee to provide this service.
Q - Can I recover the cost of a lien search from the Collector or the owner?
A - Yes, if you provide a copy of the title search and its cost, to the collector, prior to the property being
Q - Should I purchase a tax sale property without doing a lien search?
A - It is recommended that a lien search is performed.
Q - If a property does have other liens, how do I get them removed from the record?
A - You are required to have a licensed attorney or licensed title company perform a title search report no
more than 120 days before of the one-year redemption period, and before applying for a Collectors Deed.
You must notify by certified mail any lien holder as well as the previous owner of your intent to apply for and
record a Collectors Deed. You must state that the lien holder or owner had one year from the tax sale date to
redeem. If you do not receive back a response from any lien holder within the 90 day period they are forever
barred from enforcing their lien\against you and the property. The reason you must notify the previous
owner is to provide a warning that the one-year redemption period is ending.
After mailing your notices, you must come to the Collector's office with copies of what you have mailed.
You will sign an affidavit stating you have complied with the state statutes. The remaining 90 days to receive
a Collector's deed begins the date that you mailed the last notification letter. Copy of items to provide the
(1) First class mail letter
(2) Certified mail letter
(3) Addressed envelopes as they appeared just before mailing
(4) Certified mail receipt as it appeared upon its return
(5) Any returned regular mailed envelopes
Q - What happens if no bid is received at the tax sale?
A - The property must be offered a the sale each year for three years. If not sold at any of the three sales,
the property can then be purchased anytime after the third sale in the Collector's office at a price agreed to by
you and the Collector (with no redemption period).
Q - How do I obtain a list of the properties prior to the sale date?
A - The list of properties to be offered at the sale is published in a newspaper, that has county wide
distribution, once a week for three consecutive weeks with the last publication at least 15 days prior the sale
date. Starting in 2006, it will also be on the website under the County Collector section. Property owners
can remove their property from the sale list by paying any time prior to the scheduled time of the sale.