When a county acquires a Tax Sale Certificate, it has four options available:

Do Nothing. This creates inaccurate budgeting and delinquent properties remain on the tax rolls.

Authorize and Conduct a Commissioners' Certificate Sale.

Commissioners' Certificate Sale

The Board of County Commissioners in Indiana is issued a tax sale certificate for all parcels not sold at the county tax lien sale. By default, the county commissioners are then awarded the lien and hold the same rights as a lien buyer. At no point, however, do the county commissioners pay money for the certificate. At this point, the county commissioners may decide to sell a certificate to the highest bidder for less than the amount previously offered at the tax lien sale based on the minimum bid. The lien buyer of a certificate at a certificate sale will pay the highest bid amount and are then issued a tax sale certificate with the same requirements as parcels purchased at the county tax sale. The main difference between a tax lien sale and a commissioner certificate sale is that the redemption period is 120 days and minimum bids may be reduced.

See Indiana Code 6-1.1-24 and IC 6-1.1-25.

Process Tax Sale Certificate to Tax Deed and Conduct a Commissioners' Deed Sale.

Commissioner Deed Sale

Following a commissioner certificate sale or instead of a certificate sale, the Board of County Commissioners may decide to hold a Commissioner Deed Sale. At this point, the county acquires title to the subject parcels by following the same procedures as buyers of tax sales (i.e. ordering a title search, notifying interest holders and petitioning the court with jurisdiction over the tax sale to direct the county auditor to issue a tax deed) and the county holds the same rights and responsibilities as a tax sale purchaser. Once the county has acquired title to the subject parcel, the county then offers the parcel(s) for sale at a public auction.

Following title requisition, an appraisal of the parcel will likely be required depending on the most recent assessed value(s). Following this, the county council must give notice of and conduct a public hearing to approve the sale which will be advertised a minimum of two times in relevant newspapers. At this point the county can sell the parcel for less than 90% of assessed value only after an additional approval and notice of sale is published, unless the parcel has an assessed value less than $6,000 and, consequently, no appraisal is required prior to deed sale.

See Indiana Code 36-1-11.

Assign Tax Sale Certificate to Another Political Subdivision

Assignments of Certificates of Sale to Other Political Subdivisions

The county may assign certificates of sale for properties not sold at the county tax sale to other political subdivisions (e.g., cities, towns), and the other political subdivision would then perform all of the steps required of buyers after tax sales and obtain title to the subject parcel through the issuance of a tax deed from the county auditor. Such an assignment “refreshes” the redemption period and the period of redemption for the subject parcel is 120 days after the date of assignment.

See Indiana Code 6-1.1-24-9.