Understanding Tax Deed Sales in California

California’s classification is a Tax Deed State. In this article, we will delve into the complexities of tax-defaulted property sales in California.

Tax-Defaulted Property and the Power to Sell:
When a property owner in California fails to pay their property taxes, the property becomes “tax-defaulted.” This means that the owner is delinquent in their tax payments, and the county government has the authority to take action to recover the owed taxes.

One method available to the county is the “power to sell.” Under this authority, the tax collector can sell the tax-defaulted property to recover the unpaid taxes.

Seizure and Public Auction:
If the property owner fails to pay the delinquent property taxes within the five-year redemption period, the county government can proceed with seizing the property. The tax collector then arranges a public auction where the tax-defaulted property is sold to the highest bidder.

The public auction is an essential step in the process, as it allows the county to recover the unpaid taxes and also gives interested buyers an opportunity to acquire the property.

County Tax Collector’s Role:
The county tax collector is a key figure in the tax-defaulted property sale process. It is their responsibility to administer the auction and ensure that all necessary legal procedures are followed.

The tax collector also has the task of notifying the State Controller’s Office regarding the impending sale. This notification must occur “not less than 45 days nor more than 120 days before the proposed sale,” as per the legal requirements.

The State Controller’s Office Involvement:
The State Controller’s Office plays a supervisory role in the tax-defaulted property sale process. The county tax collectors are required to inform the State Controller’s Office well in advance of the auction to ensure proper oversight and compliance with state regulations.

Year-Round Tax Deed Sales:
One interesting aspect of tax-defaulted property sales in California is that tax deed sales occur year-round, depending on the county. Different counties may have varying schedules for conducting these auctions. As a result, interested buyers need to keep track of the tax sale calendar in each county if they wish to participate in the auctions.

Let’s recap the key information about California tax deed auction rules:
Sale Type:
Tax Deeds

Frequency: Monthly

Bid Method: Max bid, Sealed bid, Online Auction