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How Does a Tax Sale Work in Missouri? 

Posted on November 24, 2023

If you have received notice that your real property taxes are delinquent, it is important you take swift legal action to preserve your rights and prevent your property from being sold during a tax sale. The experienced real estate tax sale attorneys at TdD Attorneys at Law can review your situation and help you take steps to protect your rights.

What Is a Tax Sale?

At least once a year, the collector of revenue or sheriff holds a public auction to sell properties with delinquent taxes for at least three years. The collector sells the property to the highest bidder as long as the bid meets or exceeds the amount of the outstanding taxes, penalties, interests, and costs owed.

The public auction sale occurs on the fourth Monday of August each year in all counties other than St. Louis and parts of Kansas City. If no one meets the minimum bid amount, the collector holds a second sale the next year. If the same thing happens the following year, the collector holds a third sale. At that point, the collector is authorized to sell the property at subsequent sales.

If someone purchases the property, they will receive a certificate of purchase rather than title to the property.

Legal Notice Requirements

In most situations, the tax collector must mail a notice before having a tax sale to inform the property owner of the intent to do so. A second notice is required for properties worth more than $1,000. Additionally, the collector must publish notice in a newspaper once a week for three weeks before the sale.

Redemption Period

Property owners with delinquent taxes can stop a tax sale if they pay the delinquent taxes, penalties, interest, and costs before the sale. They can reclaim the property by doing the same within a certain time allowed by law. For properties that sell on the tax collector’s first or second sale, the redemption period is usually one year after the tax sale. For properties that sell during the third sale, the redemption period is 90 days. If the property is purchased after the third sale, there is no redemption period.

If the property owner does not pay off these amounts, the auction winner can use their certificate of purchase to apply for a collector’s deed, which they can then use to record their ownership in the records of deeds office.

St. Louis City Land Tax Sale Confirmation Process

The procedures described above do not apply to tax sales in St. Louis. Here, the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for holding the public auction. Additionally, there is no redemption period. However, a court confirmation hearing is required before the property can be legally transferred to a new owner.

TdD Attorneys at Law are familiar with the process in St. Louis and other areas throughout Missouri.

Legal Help for Missouri Tax Sales

If you don’t want to lose your home because of delinquent taxes, you may have legal options. You may be able to redeem your property. You may also have the right to challenge the underlying sale if the property notice requirements or procedures were not followed.

TdD Attorneys at Law can help you review your legal options and devise a strategy based on the particular details of your case. Call us today to take advantage of a free case review.