Arkansas Press Association News Distribution Service
The Commissioner of State Lands Office will begin auctions this year with a major change. Effective July 1, owners of delinquent parcels will not be able to redeem parcels sold at a tax-delinquent auction.
In past years, the owner had 10 business days to redeem a parcel sold at auction. That is no longer the case: Act 241 eliminates the post-auction redemption period. Owners wishing to redeem parcels must do so no later than 4 p.m. the last business day before the sale date. Auction sales are final.
“This will simplify operations and end the limbo buyers find themselves in,” Commissioner of State Lands Tommy Land said. “Bidders will not have to worry about a parcel being redeemed and their money tied up while we process redemptions and refunds after the auction.”
Land said Act 241 will help reduce the cycle of parcels being repeatedly certified for delinquent taxes.
“Many delinquent parcels are recurring events: a parcel will be certified, eventually auctioned, and then it’s redeemed after the auction. And two years later it is certified as delinquent again,” he said. “One parcel has been certified and redeemed 10 times. Several have been through the process nine times.”
The new law also applies to the COSL’s online auction. Parcels that do not sell at the live auction will still appear in the online sale 30 days after the auction date. When the first online bid is placed, the COSL will notify the owner that the parcel will be sold 30 days from that date. The owner may redeem up until 4 p.m. the last business day before the sale date. Redemptions will NOT be accepted after 4 p.m. the last business day before the sale date.
Act 241 also adjusts the bidding process. Effective in this year’s auction season, the Commissioner of State Lands Office will not accept mail-in bids. Bidders who wish to purchase parcels offered at live auction must attend, in person or by proxy, and place their bid during the live auction.
And Act 173 requires the Commissioner of State Lands to impose a penalty of 10 percent of the payment or $20, whichever is greater, if a check is returned for insufficient funds or payment is stopped. This applies to payment for both redemptions and purchases. Failure to make good on the dishonored or stopped payment will result in the cancellation of the redemption or sale and the filing of a legal complaint against the person who wrote the hot check or stopped payment on a check. This goes into effect Aug. 1, 2023.
The COSL will no longer accept cash payments for the sale of delinquent parcels. This, too, is a significant change from past years, when buyers were required to make part of their payment in cash. Now, all purchases must be paid by check (personal or business), credit card or debit card.
Cash is still accepted in the office for redemption of delinquent parcels, but effective July 1, no cash is accepted for purchases.
“We’ve been working to make the office more efficient,” Land said. “These new laws will help us better serve the people of Arkansas. I appreciate the legislature’s work, and I thank Gov. Sanders for signing these laws into effect so we can move forward.”
Categories: Region & State