FAQ - Regarding Tax Liens

  • When are property taxes in Arizona due?

    Property taxes are billed in September and are payable in two installments. The first installment is due on October 1 and delinquent after November 1 for tax bills over $100. After 5:00pm on December 31, full year tax bills become delinquent. All tax bills under $100 must be paid prior to that time. If December 31st falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the date of delinquency will be 5:00pm on the first business day after that date. The second installment is due on March 1 of the next calendar year and is delinquent after May 1st.

  • What happens when property taxes become delinquent?

    Delinquent property taxes accrue interest at an annual rate of 16% simple interest prorated monthly. In addition, when a property tax lien is listed for sale there are advertising fees ($5.00 or 5% whichever is greater: ARS 42-18107) plus sale fees. Fees include a non-refundable/non-interest earning fee of $5.00/10.00 as per ARS 42-18107.

  • Are delinquent taxes publicized?

    The Treasurer’s Office must publish the list of delinquent taxes at least once, not more than three weeks before the tax lien certificate sale, but not less than two weeks. The list is published in a newspaper of general circulation.

  • What does the newspaper ad contain?

    The place, date and time of the tax lien certificate sale. A listing of each parcel showing the parcel number, delinquent tax amount, the property owner's name, and the property's legal description. In addition, each listing includes the Assessor’s full cash value of the land, improvements and any personal property associated with the property. The parcels are consecutively numbered for reference during the sale.

  • Where can I get a list of delinquent taxes?

    The 2019 tax lien sale has already occurred and the next sale will occur in the first quarter of 2020. Please check back later, closer to that date, for a published list.

    You can find a copy of this publication beginning TBD at any newsstand listed in this document. Please note that news stands contain only the current copy. Back issues can be purchased at the Arizona Republic Office at this address: 200 E Van Buren St, Phoenix AZ 85004 . See www.abgnews.com for more details.

    The Arizona Business Gazette
    P.O. Box 194
    Phoenix, AZ 85001-0194

  • May I obtain a list on CD?

    Yes, contact the Treasurer's Office at 1-602-506-5850 if interested; the cost is $25.00 and will be available mid-January, 2020.

  • What are "tax lien certificates"?

    They are a first lien on the real estate. Buyers are provided a listing of all certificates purchased.

  • How does someone acquire a tax lien certificate?

    At the public auction conducted each February. The auction is called a Tax Lien Certificate Sale.

  • When is the Tax Sale?

    February 4, 2020 online at https://maricopa.arizonataxsale.com/. To familiarize yourself with how the tax lien sale works, read through the FAQs on the RealAuction website.

  • Where will the sale be held?

    The Tax Lien Certificate Sale will be conducted completely on the Internet.

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  • When are my bids due?

    Bids can be submitted on the website once the Advertised List is published on the Internet, usually in mid-January, 2020. The advertised list will be divided into several batches. Bids can be withdrawn or altered at any point up to the closing of the batch on the day of the sale. More bid information can be found in the website FAQs.

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  • Who may participate in the Tax Lien Certificate Sale?

    Anyone. To participate in the sale a bidder must register with the Treasurer’s office. A Bidder/Buyer number can be obtained by completing the Bidder Application form found on the download link below. You must also submit the appropriate IRS form for interest reporting purposes, i.e. a W9. They are listed in the Investor Forms section. The office requires your legal name, the name of a contact person, a valid mailing address, current phone number, email address, and tax id number. To obtain the bidder application form, you can come into our office or download the bidder form.

    Beginning TBD, the registration process may be completed on the Internet via the Tax Sale Web site. A bidder number is assigned for identification purposes during the sale. Bidders are required to make a deposit via ACH Debit on the Tax Sale Web site Payments Page that is 10% of the estimated amount they intend to purchase. The Treasurer’s Office requires a minimum deposit of $500.00. The deposit may be increased any time prior to the close of the auction.

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  • What do I do if I forget my password?

    Please be careful to remember your password, as it is the key to your access to the Tax Sale Web site. If, however, you forget your password, it may be recovered easily by clicking on the "Forgot your password?" link on the Tax Sale Web site home page. When you provide your matching personal information, a new temporary password will be sent to your registered email address. This password will need to be changed after your next login.

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  • If one bidder wants to purchase for several buyers, how is this handled?

    It is the responsibility of the bidder to maintain their own accounts.

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  • Will the Treasurer's Office research parcel information for me?

    No, the bidder must conduct any research surrounding potential purchases. Utilize Parcel Inquiry to research parcel information. Property characteristics and maps are found on the Assessor’s website.

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  • Where may I obtain copies of the Arizona Revised Statutes that pertain to the tax liens?

    Statutes are available on-line (Title 42, Chapter 18, beginning with Article 3), and at the Maricopa County Law Library, 101 W Jefferson Street, Phoenix AZ 85003, Phone 1-602-506-3461.

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  • What is an Internet auction?

    An auction in which bids are transmitted and received through the Internet using a computer and a web browser.

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  • How does the bidding proceed?

    Each item is auctioned in the order listed in the publication. The bidding begins at 16% (the maximum rate) and is bid down. The "winning" bidder's number and rate of interest are recorded. Any item not bid upon is "sold" to the State.

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  • What equipment or software do I need to be able to participate?

    A bidder must have a computer with Internet access and a web browser (recommended: Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher, Firefox, Safari, or Chrome). If you do not have access to a computer, the Treasurer’s Office will supply computers for your research and/or bidding by appointment. You can reach the Treasurer’s office at (602) 506-8511. Also, many public libraries and other buildings make computers available to the general public.

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  • Who will show me how to use the Internet auction system?

    Users are encouraged to participate in a Self Demo, Trial Auction or a Guided Demo prior to bidding.

    Self Demo - Please click the Demo button on the Tax Sale Web site Home page and follow the instructions. The instructions are designed to lead users through the auction process.

    Trial Auction - Please click the Trial Auction button on the Tax Sale Web site Home page. The Trial Auction is a simulation of a real auction, in which bidders practice bidding and, subsequently, viewing auction results. Guided Demo - Please contact Auction Support to receive a Guided Demo (which is available only after user completes the Self Demo).

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  • What is a batch?

    A Batch is an auction subgroup of the Advertised List that serves as a means of organizing tax certificates for the purpose of facilitating bid submission. Each tax certificate in each Batch is auctioned independently of every other tax certificate and arranged in sequential order with a unique auction closing time for each Batch.

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  • What is proxy bidding?

    In a live auction, a bidder will lower his bid by one percent increments until he is the only bidder left or until the interest goes below his acceptable minimum level, at which point he would drop out. Proxy bidding is a form of competitive sale in which bidders enter the minimum interest rate that they are willing to accept for each certificate. The auction system acts as an electronic agent, submitting bids on behalf of each bidder. The result of the proxy system is that the electronic agent keeps lowering the bid to submit by one percent increments until you are either the only bidder left, (in which case you get the certificate at one percent lower than the previous bid) or until you reach the floor you have set. Zero percent bids will not be treated as proxy bids. They will be awarded at zero.

    If you are the only bidder on a given certificate and your minimum rate is greater than zero percent, the electronic agent will submit a bid of 16% on your behalf.

    In the case of a tie at the winning bid rate, the system awards to one of the tie bidders through a random selection process using a random number generator.

    In no case will a bidder be awarded a certificate at a rate lower than his specified minimum acceptable rate.

    Certificates that receive no bids will be "struck to the state" at 16%.

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  • When do the bidders have to pay the amount due for their purchases?

    Bidders will receive an email invoice on TBD indicating the total amount due, if any. All payments must be made via ACH Debit on the Payments Page of the Tax Sale Web site by no later than 5:00 p.m. on TBD

    Failure to pay by that date results in the forfeiture of the deposit and makes the certificates available for re-sale.

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  • What is an ACH debit?

    An ACH debit is an electronic funds transfer from your bank account, initiated by the Treasurer with your prior authorization. Debits entered on the Payments Page of the web site will be submitted immediately for processing. Funds must be drawn from a US financial institution. Some types of money market, brokerage, and/or trust accounts cannot accept ACH debits. Please check with your financial institution prior to initiating payment on the web site. For more information on ACH, please visit the NACHA, the Electronic Payments Association at www.nacha.org.

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  • What happens to my security deposit if I don't win any certificates in the auction?

    Refund of unused monies to your account will take about 2 weeks to complete. Refunds are issued via ACH debit by the Treasurer 7 to 10 business days after the auction date. You will be notified about your refund by email.

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  • How does the holder of the certificate receive the interest income?

    The Treasurer remits the principal (face amount of certificate) and the interest earnings if the property taxes are paid by the owner or an agent.

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  • Can interest rates be changed after the bid?

    If a certificate should be canceled or reduced, the interest earned, per A.R.S. 42-18125, will be 10% per year, simple interest or the rate of interest bid at the tax certificate sale, whichever is less on the canceled or reduced amount. Bankruptcy rulings may also affect interest rates.

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  • Why would a certificate be canceled or reduced?

    To correct errors, omissions, or double assessments and when ordered by a court.

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  • Are tax sale certificates transferable?

    If not redeemed, a CP may be transferred by affidavit to another person who has a Bidder Identification Card on file with the Treasurer's Office.

    There is a $10.00 transfer fee per CP.

    The Treasurer's Office must be presented with the original, notarized Affidavit of Assignment, signed by the seller. The Treasurer pays the redeemed taxes to the last CP holder on record.

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  • What about tax certificates issued to the state?

    State held tax certificates may be purchased by registered buyers after the close of the tax sale. The Treasurer’s Office will announce the date(s) these certificates become available on the main page of our website.

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  • What is the "life" of a tax certificate?

    Certificates are dated as of the date the sale was made. Ten years later, if the purchaser has taken no additional action to foreclose the tax lien, the lien expires and is voided. No payments will be made to the purchaser. A purchaser may initiate a Judicial Foreclosure action after three years from the initial sale date.

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  • What is the tax deed process?

    Any certificate holder including the County may file an “Action to Foreclose” in the Superior Court of Maricopa County three years from the date of the sale.

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  • How do we find out what tax liens were not purchased?

    The STATE CP Listing will be available for public viewing in the customer service area on our lobby computers, or you can purchase a CD containing this list for $50.00 after the tax sale.

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  • When will the liens not purchased at the sale be available?

    They will be available beginning on March 4, 2019. Look for an Announcement on the Treasurer’s website. These purchases will have additional fees included that are non-interest earning and non-refundable.

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  • Are certificates printed?

    The Office is PAPERLESS; this means Certificates are no longer printed. At the end of the sale, you will receive an itemized listing of the certificates you purchased including their costs, via email from RealAuction. Additionally, the Maricopa County Treasurer's Office provides monthly activity reports on your Tax Lien web online account. Finally, your annual outstanding portfolio statement will be available on your Tax Lien web online account at the end of the first week of March.

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  • How are we notified when liens have been redeemed?

    It is your responsibility, as an active lien holder, to track your purchases and redemptions. The Tax Lien Web is a separate feature that was created for lien holders to have continuous access to this information. Monthly Activity and Outstanding Portfolio reports are updated the first week of each month on your Tax Lien Web account. You must have registered separately for the Tax Lien Web feature. If you have not yet registered, start by pressing the Tax Lien Web button on the Treasurer's website home page in the Investor section. Next, enter your buyer number, click the "Register Here" button and follow the prompts to complete. Lien holder refund checks are processed and mailed to the address on your buyer profile soon after a redemption has been posted. If multiple redemptions occur in the same day, a lien holder may receive one check for several liens. The stub will be itemized with the parcel number, CP and dollar amount per lien.

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CP Expirations Legal Changes

There has been a change in CP Liens that is applicable to lienholders. Beginning September, 2019, SB1236 will include a provision that modifies the language in §A.R.S. 42-18127 Section A.

The original certificate of purchase, in addition to all subsequent taxes (sub taxes) will expire if an action to foreclose has not commenced within ten years after the last day of the month in which the original certificate was acquired.

Pursuant to this legislation, tax liens eligible for expiration will include the original certificate and all related sub taxes in the expiration process. Those liens with deadlines that are already in effect will not be affected however it will affect all future sub taxing liens so that the deadline will expire within a ten year period after the last day of the month that it was acquired and time limits cannot be extended to the original purchase.

You should consult your attorney for further advice.

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Elderly Assistance Program

We have been receiving many phone calls from seniors expressing shock and dismay at the significant increase in their property tax bills. It is tragic. Treasurer Royce T. Flora has been trying for five years to get the legislature to reclassify low-income seniors’ homes in order to lower their ever-increasing property taxes. Several different players have defeated these efforts each year, which has led to a doubling of many folks’ property taxes this year. Treasurer Flora is not giving up. Please click on this LINK to read a letter to legislators explaining the Treasurer’s disappointment in their failure to help our needy seniors. With the enthusiastic help of Representatives Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) and Anthony Kern (R-Phoenix), Treasurer Flora will again champion the effort to get a bill passed by legislators and signed by the governor in 2020.

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Parcel number 123-45-678 9, can be entered as 123 45 678

Parcel number 123-45-678a 9, can be entered as 123 45 678 a

For Mobile Home/Business Personal Property - Use the personal property roll number with a prefix of 9 as the parcel number.
Example: Roll number 60-00-001 8 can be entered as 960 00 001.

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