Indiana attorney Billy Richards is a longtime tax sale investor and a recognized expert on Indiana’s tax sale process. He also hosts an annual seminar to educate investors and keep them updated on any changes in the state’s statues. In a recent podcast interview with Tax Sales Resources CEO Brian Seidensticker, he explained how tax sales work in the Hoosier State.
A Brief Overview of Indiana Tax Sales
Richards explains that Indiana tax sales are based on a rather complicated mixture of local rules and customs as well as state statues. As he explains, “Even the most seasoned tax sale professional will at times be surprised and caught off guard by all the twists and turns.” But basically, property taxes are collected and tax sales are conducted at the county level, either in person or online – and all properties are sold “as-is” with a tax certificate issued to the winning bidder. He reminds investors that if the property is demolished, boarded-up, mowed, or trash is removed by the county upon issuance of the tax deed to you, you may have to pay those fees.
The Indiana Tax Sale Certificate
As Richards strongly emphasizes, “It is the bidder’s responsibility to make certain they meet the requirements of the rules of the sale. You must complete your due diligence before the sale; during the redemption period, and before taking deed.” The tax sale certificate contains the name of the owner of record at the time of the sale (or if there are multiple owners, at least one of the owners of the property). It also shows their mailing address, a short legal property description, the parcel number, a street address if there is one, and the date when the redemption expires. That certificate is also assignable to another party.
Other Important Investment Information
Depending on the county, a post-sale notice must be sent to interested parties in the property. In some counties, the county takes care of this notice but in others, the purchaser is responsible for that notice. This notice must be sent out no later than six months after the sale. Richards also recommends that the purchaser file a Form 137-B to recover additional costs, like attorney fees, that were incurred in acquiring the tax certificate. Refunds based on such costs are determined by the county that conducted the sale, so contact them to learn what costs may be recoverable. Investors should also note that Indiana also holds a leftover hybrid sale known as a Commissioner’s Certificate Sale that has a 120-day redemption period. If properties still don’t sell, they are acquired by the county and offered in a deed sale as a final attempt in collecting the delinquencies.
Indiana’s Redemption Process
In Indiana, any person may redeem the property sold at a tax sale – and they can do it any time prior to the expiration of the one-year redemption period. To do so, they must pay all outstanding taxes and assessments, plus interest. In addition, the tax sale purchaser may recover from the redeeming party all taxes and special assessments paid by the purchaser subsequent to the sale, plus interest. A tax deed petition must be filed after the 12-month redemption period, but no later than three months after that redemption period. An additional sale is not required for the tax deed, as it is not deemed a tax foreclosure process.