Clarke property tax sale will have different format this year

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Tyler Montana Prescott

Tyler Montana Prescott

Clarke County Revenue Commissioner Tyler Montana Prescott has announced that his office will be using a new method for collecting delinquent property taxes for owners who fail to pay their property taxes in Clarke County.

For over a century, the county’s tax collector, now known as the revenue commissioner, would hold an annual tax collector’s sale in which properties were auctioned to the highest bidder. However, in 2018, the Alabama Legislature passed Act 2018-577, which authorized county revenue commissioners to have the authority to transition to a new method known as the Tax Lien Sale. The law gave the county’s elected revenue commissioner the ability to choose which method would be used in the county.

In August 2022, Prescott announced and published a legal notice stating that Clarke County would make this transition.

Prescott noted that there are many differences between the traditional tax collector’s sale and the new tax lien sale. In a tax lien sale, bidding is not based on the amount of money the buyer is willing to pay. The amount required to purchase the tax lien is already set. Bids are based on the amount of interest the buyer is willing to accept as full payment on the lien, and the lien is sold to the bidder who bids the lowest interest rate.

The beginning interest rate is 12%, and additional bids may be made at a decreasing rate. The bids will be in 1% increments until no bidder continues to bid lower or until the interest rate reaches 0%. In addition, Prescott stated that buyers are no longer purchasing the property but instead are purchasing only a lien against the property.

A tax deed will no longer be issued when the three year redemption period expires, and purchasers will be required to file a foreclosure action in Circuit Court in order to receive a clerk’s deed.

The law no longer requires print advertising and instead allows the official to conduct an online auction.

Commissioner Prescott, however, has stated that he believes it is important to publish the list in the newspaper in order to ensure that the information reaches as many citizens as possible. Prescott said, “My goal is never to sell a person’s land for taxes, so we want to provide as many opportunities as possible to reach the taxpayers before resorting to an auction. I have spent the past two weeks physically visiting the properties and speaking with taxpayers and leaving notes at residences. Publishing the list in the newspaper will allow us to reach even more people.”

This year’s list includes approximately 80 unpaid properties. It will be published three times in The Clarke County Democrat, April 6. 13 and 20.

Prescott is hopeful that many of these delinquent taxes will be paid prior to the auction. However, he did note, “We have several accounts where the owners or their heirs have stated they will not be paying the taxes and do not want the property, so we know those will go to auction.”

Clarke County’s first ever tax lien sale will be held on Friday, May 26, 2023, at noon on the courthouse steps in Grove Hill.

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