Tax Lien Tutorial

  • Introduction

    The Tax Lien Sale provides for the payment of delinquent property taxes by an investor. The tax on the property is auctioned in open competitive bidding based on the least percent of interest to be received by the investor.

    Property taxes that are delinquent at the end of December are added to any previously uncollected taxes on a parcel for the Tax Lien Sale. The sale takes place online in early February of each year. Please read the disclaimer before deciding to bid, and see our lien FAQ page and lien history page.

    Parcels whose taxes are subject to sale will be advertised, in January, in a Maricopa County newspaper of general circulation.

    The advertisement appears in the Arizona Business Gazette about three weeks before the auction:

    • in the Arizona Business Gazette, Copies of the newspaper are usually available for purchase at the Treasurer's Office.
    • posted on the Tax Sale website
    • in the Treasurer's Office (on the lobby computers) at 301 W. Jefferson, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85003.
    • a CD called the “Tax Sale Advertising List” for $25.00 can be purchased: ResearchMaterial.pdf

    The investor is responsible for all research on the parcels available for auction. County maps for research may be found by visiting the Maricopa County Assessor's website. Read our Recommendations to all bidders.

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  • Pre-sale Requirements

    To be eligible to bid, investors must provide the Treasurer's Office with a completed:

    Please mail completed forms to Maricopa County Treasurer, 301 W Jefferson St #140, Phoenix, AZ 85003, or fax to (602) 506-1102.

    A number will be assigned to each bidder for use when purchasing tax liens through the Treasurer’s office and the online Tax Lien Sale.

    Registration is processed through the Treasurer’s Office, except during the time the Tax Sale website is available to the public (from mid-January through mid-February). Then, during the Tax Sale, registration will be processed through

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  • Proxy Bid Procedure

    Proxy bidding is a form of competitive sale in which bidders enter the minimum interest rate that they are willing to accept for each certificate. The auction system acts as an electronic agent, submitting bids on behalf of each bidder. The result of the proxy system is that the electronic agent keeps lowering the bid to submit by one percent increments until you are either the only bidder left, (in which case you get the certificate at one percent lower than the previous bid) or until you reach the floor you have set.

    • Zero percent bids will not be treated as proxy bids. They will be awarded at zero.
    • If you are the only bidder on a given certificate and your minimum rate is greater than zero percent, the electronic agent will submit a bid of 16% on your behalf.
    • In the case of a tie at the winning bid rate, the system awards to one of the tie bidders through a random selection process using a random number generator.
    • In no case will a bidder be awarded a certificate at a rate lower than his specified minimum acceptable rate.
    • Certificates that receive no bids will be "struck to the state" at 16%.

    The successful bidder will pay the entire amount of taxes, interest, and fees via ACH debit by the end of the next business day. Fees include a non-refundable/non-interest earning Tax Payer Information Fee of $5.00/10.00 as per ARS 42-18122B. If payment has not been made, the parcel(s) will be struck to the State of Arizona.

    Each investor will receive an Outstanding Portfolio Report identifying each parcel for which the investor had acquired a tax lien.

    When making an inquiry on a property, use the parcel number located in the left column of the Portfolio.

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  • Bid Interest

    Bids are for the percent of interest income to bidder.

    The maximum bid is 16% simple interest per annum, prorated monthly. The lowest acceptable bid is 0% per annum.

    The successful (lowest) bid will determine the rate of interest to be paid on the Tax Lien, representing the amount of taxes, interest, fees and charges then due. Also read Proxy bidding in this Tax Lien Tutorial

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  • Redemption of Liens

    If the owner and/or agent redeems the property tax lien, the investor receives a payment of what they paid for the lien, less the processing fee, plus the prorated monthly rate of interest that was awarded at the sale.

    The lien bears interest at the bid rate from the first day of the month following the purchase of the tax lien.

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  • Deeds

    When a property owner fails to redeem the CP prior to the expiration of three years from the date the parcel was first offered at sale, the investor may apply for a court ordered deed to the property (judicial foreclosure).

    As of December 31, 2003, the Treasurer's Office does not issue Treasurer's deeds on buyer purchased CPs. All buyer foreclosures are judicial.

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  • Assignments

    Assignments offer the investor an alternative way to purchase liens on parcels at a time other than the Tax Lien sale.

    The unsold tax liens are "struck off to the State of Arizona" (also known as State CPs), and available for purchase by investors through an assignment. Assignments will be available upon completion of all Sale Week transactions.

    Assignment purchases may be made in person or by mail. Payment must accompany the request. To verify availability of a STATE CP, create a parcel’s redemption statement looking for liens that show as “….sold to the State of Arizona”.

    This State CP listing is available in a CD format for $50 each. It lists the tax amount and year involved. The buyer will pay the entire amount of taxes, interest, and fees due at the date of the assignment. Assignment purchases are not allowed during the Tax Lien sale. NOTE: If a parcel also has current delinquent taxes in addition to "State CP" taxes, the investor is required by Treasurer policy to purchase both after June 1, and prevent the parcel from going to the Tax Lien Sale.

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  • Assignment Purchasing

    The buyer will submit a list of desired parcels to the Treasurer's Office, along with a cashier's check, personal check, business check, money order, or certified check, for the approximate total. The submittals will be recorded and processed in the order in which they are received. Should the original payment be in excess of the amount due, a refund will be returned to the lien holder.

    Assignment purchases are processed up to the amount received.

    Parcels not covered by funds on hand are available to other buyers. The interest earned on an assignment will be the current statutory maximum (16%). "Assignment" must be specified to prevent an inadvertent processing of a redemption of a Certificate of Purchase.

    All mailed-in purchase requests must be sent to the Maricopa County Treasurer, Attn: Tax Lien Department, 301 W. Jefferson Street, Suite 140, Phoenix, AZ 85003-2199.

    Please use the format below when submitting a purchase request.

    Parcel number(s) Certificate of purchase number Certificate of purchase total amount Plus $10 per C.P. Total amount CP Buyer Number

    Make sure to include the following information:
    Contact person's name
    Current daytime phone number
    e-Mail address

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  • Re-Assignment Purchasing aka Transfer of Ownership of a CP

    If not redeemed, a CP may be transferred by affidavit to another person who is a registered CP buyer with the Maricopa County Treasurer's office.

    We do have a pre-made form for the reassignment of a Certificate of Purchase, or the current lien holder may create one of their own. The affidavit should include the:

    Date Current CP Buyer #, name, address and notarized signature The new CP Buyer #, name, address and signature The parcel #, CP #

    There is a $10.00 transfer fee for each CP#. The out of office negotiations are agreements solely between the current and new lien holders. The Treasurer's Office simply processes the reassignments.

    It usually takes a few days to complete the reassignment process, you are welcome to mail or walk in your reassignment request. We will notify you by email when it is complete.

    If the lien is redeemed during the transition period, the Treasurer pays the redeemed taxes to the last CP holder on record. The $10 fee would be refunded to whichever lien holder paid the fee.

    The Treasurer's Office must be notified of the transfer with an original affidavit for it to be valid.

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  • Purchasing Delinquent Taxes for Subsequent Years

    Any party holding a Certificate of Purchase (CP) on a delinquent tax lien for a prior tax year may purchase the delinquent tax for a subsequent year.

    A subsequent year’s tax (sub-tax) can be added to an existing CP beginning on June 1 and ending on January 15. Subsequent year liens not sub-taxed will go to the next tax lien auction in February. The interest earned on a sub-tax is the same as that of the original CP.

    The person wishing to sub-tax is responsible for determining the amount due for the fixed amounts of taxes and fees, and the interest accrued based upon the date of the sub-tax purchase. Interest is on the total tax amount and accrues on the first day of each subsequent month. The fee for each sub-tax is $5.00.

    There are two ways to sub-tax:

    1. In the Treasurer’s office using computer terminals located in our lobby. Instructions and assistance are available.
    2. Send a list of desired purchases and payment to:
         Maricopa County Treasurer
         Attention: Tax Lien Department
         301 W. Jefferson Street, Suite 140
         Phoenix, AZ 85003-2199

    Please use the format below when submitting a purchase request.

    Parcel number(s) Certificate of Purchase number Total Amount of taxes & interest plus a $5.00 sub-tax fee per parcel Buyer number

    Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office recommends using EXCEL or one of the other spreadsheet programs when using OPTION 2. This will increase the accuracy and timeliness of processing your request.

    The amount due is on our website at: To retrieve the “Tax Summary” page for a parcel, you can click here and enter a "Parcel #", or you can go to our Homepage and enter a "Parcel #" in the "Taxpayer" panel. From June through August, if there is a dollar amount printed in red in the upper right column, there is a delinquency eligible for sub-taxing. After August, the new tax year amounts are added to our website. You will now need to look for the "unpaid tax" line for the prior tax year to determine the amount to sub-tax. A redemption statement is another source used to determine sub-tax purchase amounts. That amount, plus the $5.00 fee, is the total amount necessary to sub-tax. Personal and business checks are accepted.

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  • Monthly Activity Statement and Outstanding Portfolio Report

    An Activity Statement will be created for each CP buyer, listing their redemptions, purchases, surrenders, expirations, and extinguishments.
    Only those accounts with activity in the last month will have a report available on the Tax Lien Web site.
    Outstanding Portfolio Reports will also be available for active buyers The Tax Lien Web is updated the first week of each month. These statements can be viewed on the Maricopa County Treasurer's Tax Lien Web site. To have access to this information you must first register.

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Seniors needing additional property tax relief and Arizonans not required to file individual income taxes may be able to take advantage of state tax credits

Individual income tax filing season in the state provides potential benefits for Arizonans whose income level is below minimum threshold limits and not required to file an individual income tax return or are seniors who own a residence.

Both may still be eligible for state tax benefits by submitting two forms available through the Arizona Department of Revenue - Form 140ET Credit for Increased Excise Taxes or Form 140PTC Property Tax Refund Claim.

  • Form 140PTC is used by qualified individuals to claim a refundable income tax credit for taxes paid on property located in Arizona that is either owned by or rented by the taxpayer. Form 140PTC provides a tax credit of up to $502. To claim a property tax credit, you must file your claim or extension request by April 15, 2020. You cannot claim this credit on an amended return if you file it after the due date.
  • Form 140ET is used by individuals not required to file an Arizona individual income tax return but qualify to claim the refundable excise tax credit. The maximum credit available for the increased excise tax (Form 140ET) is $100 per household. An excise tax is a tax levied on certain goods by the state or federal government such as fuel, cigarettes, cellphones and alcoholic beverages.

Individuals not filing an income tax return and claiming both credits need only to complete Form 140PTC. However, individuals not submitting a tax return and not claiming the property tax credit must complete Form 140ET to claim the credit for increased excise taxes.

To determine eligibility for either Form 140PTC or Form 140ET, see form instructions at

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CP Expirations Legal Changes

There has been a change in CP Liens that is applicable to lienholders. Beginning September, 2019, SB1236 will include a provision that modifies the language in §A.R.S. 42-18127 Section A.

The original certificate of purchase, in addition to all subsequent taxes (sub taxes) will expire if an action to foreclose has not commenced within ten years after the last day of the month in which the original certificate was acquired.

Pursuant to this legislation, tax liens eligible for expiration will include the original certificate and all related sub taxes in the expiration process. Those liens with deadlines that are already in effect will not be affected however it will affect all future sub taxing liens so that the deadline will expire within a ten year period after the last day of the month that it was acquired and time limits cannot be extended to the original purchase.

You should consult your attorney for further advice.

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Elderly Assistance Program

We have been receiving many phone calls from seniors expressing shock and dismay at the significant increase in their property tax bills. It is tragic. Treasurer Royce T. Flora has been trying for five years to get the legislature to reclassify low-income seniors’ homes in order to lower their ever-increasing property taxes. Several different players have defeated these efforts each year, which has led to a doubling of many folks’ property taxes this year. Treasurer Flora is not giving up. Please click on this LINK to read a letter to legislators explaining the Treasurer’s disappointment in their failure to help our needy seniors. With the enthusiastic help of Representatives Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) and Anthony Kern (R-Phoenix), Treasurer Flora will again champion the effort to get a bill passed by legislators and signed by the governor in 2020.

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Beware of Alternate Tax Payment Websites!

Please be aware of other property tax payment websites which could mislead you to believe they are the Maricopa County Treasurer’s website. Although you can make payments through them, they are not our official agent and will charge you processing fees. We have no control over payments made through them.

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Press Release

Maricopa County Treasurer Willing to Loan $1 Billion to State for Coronavirus Crisis

Phoenix, AZ (July 21, 2020) - Maricopa County Treasurer, Royce T. Flora announced today that his office is willing to loan the State of Arizona $1 billion dollars to fight the economic damage from the Coronavirus outbreak in Arizona.

"The State of Arizona is a COVID-19 hotspot. We are experiencing significant damage to local businesses. Arizona’s Health Care industry needs additional resources for testing and personal protective equipment and Maricopa County is in a position to help the State financially to combat this virus," said Royce T. Flora, Maricopa County Treasurer. "We can loan one billion dollars to the State from our portfolio to fight COVID-19 and the loan will have little effect on County taxpayers," he added.

The funds would come from Maricopa County’s investment portfolio which as of last month, had an annual high balance of $6.7 billion. The Maricopa County Treasurer's Office invests funds in short-term investment opportunities to generate revenue that is dispersed back into our economy. With interest rates near zero, this money is in our accounts and needs to be put into production.

To arrange an interview with Maricopa County Treasurer, Royce Flora, contact us at (602) 506-8511

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Press Release

Tax Deadline Update

I’m extremely disappointed to report despite all our efforts to request to extend the delinquency date to pay 2019 property taxes, no action has taken place. Senate President Karen Fann expressed support at first, and although many legislators have enthusiastically voiced their support, there doesn’t appear to be any progress. There has been no response from House Speaker Rusty Bowers or from Governor Doug Ducey.

I will continue to fight to get relief for homeowners including an extension and/or waiver. However, if the Legislature and the Governor do not extend the deadline and if you are unable to pay the balance of 2019 property taxes by May 1st at 5:00pm, here is a suggestion for you to make your own one-month extension: If you pay late, you will incur an interest penalty. We suggest you pay on the last business day of the month, because whether you pay May 2nd or May 29th, the interest amount is the same.

Regrettably, there is no other relief County Treasurers can provide for homeowners; I am restricted by law. Only the Legislature can change the law and that seems unlikely.

Additionally, after consultation with the County Attorney’s Office, I have determined there is a legal way to provide some relief to some taxpayers. ARS 42-18056 G gives County Treasurers the authority to “enter into a payment plan agreement” with business personal property taxpayers who become delinquent on their taxes of more than $1000. Those qualifying businesses will receive a letter explaining what action to take.

I wish you all well and please stay safe.

With great respect,
Royce T. Flora
Maricopa County Treasurer

Senate President Karen Fann 602-926-5874
Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers 602-926-3128
Governor Doug Ducey 602-542-4331
Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office 602-506-8511

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Press Release

Maricopa County Treasurer Royce Flora Continues His Commitment to Extend Property Tax Payment Deadline

Treasurer Royce Flora continues his commitment and push for the Legislature to extend the delinquent date to pay 2019 property taxes and to waive all penalties and interest. Treasurer Flora has sent formal requests to the Legislature and the Governor to call a Special Session to address the extension and the waiver. Unfortunately, as of this date, the Legislature still has not acted and the Governor has yet to respond.

Many legislators, including Senate President Karen Fann, have voiced support to get this done. But still no real action; more need to step up and do it.

“This is really a simple fix that will help relieve some financial stress that so many of our citizens are feeling at this time of crisis, trying to provide for their families and put food on the table or pay taxes,” Treasurer Flora says. “There is still time for the Legislature to do this, but time is running out.”

As stated in the April 6th letter to the Governor, the “extension will in no way negatively impact any of the scheduled disbursements to school districts, fire districts, or any special districts. All 15 County Treasurers (have joined Treasurer Royce Flora and) agree that the disbursements will proceed as planned. But all 15 also agree that this extension will give (critically needed) relief to many homeowners who are being negatively impacted by this pandemic.”

As a citizen/taxpayer you can also have influence in this issue. Please contact your legislator and/or the Governor and voice your opinion. Make your voice heard.

Senate President Karen Fann 602-926-5874
Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers 602-926-3128
Governor Doug Ducey 602-542-4331

With great respect,
Royce T. Flora
Maricopa County Treasurer

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Press Release

Maricopa County Treasurer Royce Flora Asks the Governor
to Extend Property Tax Payment Deadline

April 6, 2020

Dear Honorable Governor Doug Ducey,

As Maricopa County Treasurer I respectfully and urgently request that you, as Governor of the great State of Arizona, help taxpayers during these difficult times by calling a Special Session of the State Legislature in order to address tax issues, including extending the deadline to pay the second half of 2019 property taxes to at least June 1, 2020.

We have asked the Legislature to take action; while many have expressed interest, the response has been disappointingly slow. The push back has been from paid lobbyists with agendas who care more about revenue than about citizens. The recent Executive Order has shut down many businesses causing lost wages and lost jobs. It would appear the citizens of Arizona are nothing more than a revenue source for government. Arizona citizens are dying while government puts revenue above people. Interestingly, government workers are paid regardless, even though many sit idly at home adding no value for taxpayers.

Why haven’t the experts at the Offices who deal directly with these issues been consulted? We have the facts. This is a time-sensitive issue and must be addressed immediately. This 30-day extension will in no way negatively impact any of the scheduled disbursements to school districts, fire districts, or any special districts. All 15 County Treasurers agree that the disbursements will proceed as planned. But all 15 also agree that this extension will give relief to many homeowners who are being negatively impacted by this pandemic.

In Maricopa County, the average amount of interest and penalties paid because of delinquencies during May is about $560,000. (That’s approximately the cost of mailing a tax notice to all homeowners with mortgages in our county as required by Sen. Vince Leach’s SB1113.) Even if you double that to $1,120,000, for the entire month, that is still a small loss considering the Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office has over $300 Million flowing through its coffers each week.*corrected The loss is “relatively insignificant” and is more than made up in our interest earnings projected to exceed $100 Million for FY2020.

Other states have taken similar action ( Arizona needs to provide relief to taxpayers. We hope and pray for a quick recovery and to get back to normal; however, we do not know that timeline. Even if that happens, much damage has already occurred and many will continue to struggle; and some families and businesses may not ever fully recover from the economic damage.


Royce T. Flora
Maricopa County Treasurer

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Press Release

Maricopa County Treasurer Royce Flora Asks Legislature
to Extend Property Tax Payment Deadline

Phoenix, AZ (March 26, 2020) - Maricopa County Treasurer Royce Flora today asked the Arizona Legislature to extend the deadline for property owners to pay the second half of 2019 property taxes to June 1st. Taxes on all commercial and residential properties are currently due and are considered past due May 1st.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact our citizens, many of whom have lost their job, the last thing people need to worry about right now is how to pay their property taxes," said Treasurer Royce Flora. "Some people are struggling with paying rent, utilities, and food for their family so we are asking the legislature to give us the authority to extend the deadline to pay property taxes to help families," he added.

The Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office is also asking the Legislature to give all County Treasurers throughout the state the authority to waive all penalties and interest associated with any delinquent property tax.

"We hope the State Legislature will make a quick decision in favor of taxpayers at a time when they need Government help the most," said Treasurer Flora.

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October 24, 2019



The political attack made by Vince Leach, from Pinal County, on the Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office is neither factual nor warranted. The Maricopa County Treasurer has complied with the new law to mail out 2019 Property Tax notices to property owners with a mortgage. As required by SB1033, “ARS § 42-18054: (a) tax statement sent to the mortgagor shall be a written document and may be in any form established by the county treasurer.” This was done.

In an effort to mitigate the costs of this unfunded mandate, Treasurer Royce Flora designed a postcard-size notice like the ones discontinued four years ago because it duplicated information already provided to the taxpayer from both the Assessor and the mortgage companies. Mr. Leach’s unfunded mandate in the SB1033 law cost Maricopa County taxpayers an additional $230,000.00 for printing and mailing, alone. That is not “childish” money.

Mr. Leach’s complaints appear to be a form of retaliation against Treasurer Flora and this office. Mr. Leach did not support Treasurer Flora’s efforts to protect low-income seniors from ever increasing property taxes, and helped lead the effort to kill the bill putting seniors at risk of losing their homes. Mr. Leach was told about the cost before the bill passed and his statement to the Treasurer’s PIO was “have fun.” Maybe that is why people in his county have higher taxes than we do in Maricopa County.

The Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office is the most transparent government entity in the state of Arizona. All our statements, processes, and taxpayer information is on our website, in addition to the several mailings and email blasts throughout the year. Our website is easily accessed and user-friendly. In fact, over 300,000 property owners have accessed our website for their specific property tax information, in addition to general information that it provides.

Treasurer Flora will continue to look for ways to lower costs to taxpayers and, in particular, will work with like-minded elected officials to relieve the tax burden on low income seniors. Mr. Leach clearly is not one of them.

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Parcel number 123-45-678 9, can be entered as 123 45 678

Parcel number 123-45-678a 9, can be entered as 123 45 678 a

For Mobile Home/Business Personal Property - Use the personal property roll number with a prefix of 9 as the parcel number.
Example: Roll number 60-00-001 8 can be entered as 960 00 001.

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