This is the first article in our series on the Oklahoma Tax Sales and its ancillary issues.  Whether you recently purchased a property at the tax sale conducted by the County Treasurer or are contemplating doing so, this series is for you.  In this post, we will discuss two main issues: the consequences of delinquent taxes and the sale of these properties.

Throughout the series, we also aim to discuss the importance of retaining a knowledgeable quiet title attorney after acquiring the property.  A tax sale is a buyer beware sale – this means that the tax deed is not a warranty deed and thereby the County does not warranty its marketability.  A quiet title action extinguishes the previous owners’ claims and all possible claims and helps you clear the title.

What happens to delinquent property taxes in Oklahoma?

Property taxes are an essential source of revenue for local governments and school districts.  The amount is calculated based on the property value that is located in the County.  Failure to make the tax payments will cause the property to start accruing interest and fees.  Accounts that remain delinquent for three years or more will ultimately be put up for auction by the County Treasurer.  68 O.S. §3105.

What happens to the tax-delinquent properties in Oklahoma?

Property taxes that remain delinquent for three years or more are put up for auction by the County Treasurer.  68 O.S. §3105.  The proceeds are then applied to the taxes and fees owed on the property.  The process in which the county sells a delinquent property in a public auction to the highest bidder for two-thirds of the assessed value or the total amount of taxes (whichever is the lesser) to satisfy the taxes is called Tax Sale or Tax Resale.

The County Treasurer will publish a Tax Resale list which serves as a notice of resale for the delinquent properties.  68 O.S. §3125 – §3127.  This sale is held on the second Monday of June each year in each county.

Some people may be exempt from the tax sale.  A person may qualify for an exemption if the property owner is 65 years or older or is classified as totally disabled, resides at the property, has a gross annual income that does not exceed the federal poverty guidelines, or the property’s fair market value reflected on the County Assessor’s tax roll does not exceed $180,000.  68 O.S. §3105(B)(5).

What happens after the tax sale in Oklahoma?

After the sale, you get a tax deed thereby making you the record owner of the property.  However, without doing a title search or obtaining an abstract of the property, you can’t tell whether another party has a lien or an interest in it.  The liens, interests, or potential claims, if any, may cause the title to be clouded rendering it unmarketable.

One way to ensure that these issues do not arise is by initiating a quiet title action with the help of a knowledgeable attorney.  On the contrary, you can hold the property for 10 years and not be required to quiet the title.  But remember, within those 10 years you can’t do anything with the property that requires title insurance.  16 O.S. §62(d).

Additionally, the previous owner has 5 years after the tax deed is recorded to assert a claim to recover the property on various grounds – including improper notice. 12 O.S. §93(3)

OKC Quiet Title Lawyer

A tax sale deed may be riddled with potential claims and liens that can cloud the title’s marketability.  It’s essential to initiate a quiet title action after purchasing a property to ensure no unexpected issues sneak up on you in the future.  If you are in a similar situation, get in touch with us today.  We will give your case the attention it deserves and help you navigate the legal complexities of the quiet title action.  Contact us online or by telephone to get in touch with a real estate law firm and speak to a quiet title lawyer.