Conducting Tax Sales
In Clarke County the tax commissioner is designated ex officio sheriff and is responsible for conducting tax sales for the collection of unpaid taxes. When property is to be sold for outstanding taxes, Georgia law requires that it be advertised for four consecutive weeks in the legal section of the county newspaper.
You can view the legal section of the Athens Banner-Herald legal ads. Notices published here will provide a full and complete description of the property to be sold and disclose the name of the person who may be in possession.
Beginning of Sales
Tax sales begin at 10:00 a.m. on the first Tuesday of the month, and ordinarily in front of the courthouse. If the articles being sold are difficult and expensive to transport, the tax commissioner does not have to move them to the courthouse, provided the official advertisement fully describes the property and the place where it is located.
- The sale will be conducted in the manner of a public outcry auction, with the parcels typically sold in the order of the legal advertisements. Those parcels withdrawn due to payment or legal requirements will be announced.
- The opening bid will be equal to the amount of taxes due plus costs.
- The property will go to the highest bidder.
- If no one bids over the opening bid, the property may be "bid in" for the county.
- Payment must be made for the amount of the bid at the time of sale. If the highest bidder fails to or refuses to comply with the terms of sale, the property may be resold and the first bidder held responsible for any deficiency arising from the latter sale.
- If all the parcels are not sold by 4:00 p.m. on the first day of sale, the sale will resume at 10:00 a.m. the following day.
- The purchaser must provide the tax commissioner with a current mailing address upon tender of payment, which should be by cash or by cashier's or certified check issued or certified by a financial institution insured with the FDIC or FSLIC.
- A receipt for the purchase will be issued at the time of tender.
- The tax commissioner will execute a tax deed after the sale and have the deed properly recorded. The deed, along with other pertinent information, will be sent to the purchaser at the address given on the receipt.
- The purchaser will be responsible for property taxes as they become due. The amount of any tax paid, however, may be added to the redemption price.