Tax Lien Sale Frequently Asked Questions

Tax Lien Sale is October 26, 2016


Auction list publishing schedule

It is published in the county newspaper of record 4 weeks prior to the tax lien sale for 3 consecutive weeks.

On the last week prior to the auction it is published in the:

  • Longmont Daily Times-Call (paper of record for 2016)
  • Boulder Daily Camera  
  • The Nederland Mountain Ear 
  • The Lafayette News 
  • The Louisville Times 
  • The Lyons Recorder 
  • The Colorado Daily 

It is available for download at website; updated daily.

Obtaining copies of the auction list

Copies of the list will be available in The Treasurer’s Office at 1325 Pearl Street, Boulder Colorado, beginning October 16th. The list is also available online starting October 28, 2016.

Sale location

Boulder County Courthouse
Third Floor
1325 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Map & Directions


Registered bidders park for free in any of the 4 downtown city parking lots:

  • 1100 Walnut
  • 1400 Walnut
  • 11th and Spruce
  • 1500 Pearl

When you register, you will receive an 8 hour parking pass.

Where is information about property location available?

You can look up parcel information on the Assessor’s website. You will need the account number which is listed in bold on the first line of each listing.

Is ownership in the property transferred?

No. As a tax lien investor, you have no right, title or interest to the property. You have only purchased a lien against the property based on delinquent taxes.

Can the properties be inspected?

No. You are only purchasing a lien. The owner of the property retains all rights of ownership, title and privacy.

Are observers allowed at the tax lien sale? 

Yes, but seating is limited. If the room is full, you may be asked to give up a seat to a registered bidder.

Registration Information

  • Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. Day of the sale 
  • The exact spelling of the name you register with will become the name used on the tax lien certificate  
  • To register you will need:  
    • Name  
    • Address for checks & correspondence  
    • Social Security # or Tax ID # 
    • Completed, signed IRS w-9 form

How long will the sale last?

  • The sale will begin as soon after 8:30 am as all bidders are registered  
  • The auction will last until all properties are sold or until 5:00 p.m. Treasurer’s staff will determine if the sale will be continued or adjourned to the next business day  
  • In recent years, the sale has not gone past 3:00 p.m. 

What is the interest rate?

The 2016 interest rate is 10% per annum.  It is set on September 1st. It is set 9 points above the federal discount rate.

How is interest calculated?

Interest is calculated monthly on the first day of the month. 

Will there be an Auctioneer?


Does auction sale process list follow the list published in the newspaper?

Yes. The list is published in alphabetical order by owner name. 

How is the bidding done? (Rotation vs. Open) 

The auction is open bidding. The bid amount is the premium amount.

What is a Premium bid?

Premium bids are the amounts over and above the taxes, interest and fees listed on the day of sale list.

Is interest calculated on my premium bid?

No. You do not earn any interest on a premium bid. 

Do I get my premium bid back? 


What was the % of premium bids from prior sales? 

For the last five years premium bids have ranged from 0-12%. Historically in Boulder County, the vast majority of tax liens have sold for a premium bid.

How are premium bid monies used by county government? 

Premium bid money goes directly to the County General Fund. Premium bid funds are not retained by the Treasurer’s Office.

Can I lose money investing in tax lien sales? 

Yes, if the interest earned does not equal or exceed the premium bid amount you paid. This is a buyer beware process. You need to make informed bids.

Why are several items grouped together on the day of sale auction list? 

By statute, the Treasurer may combine properties that are under the same ownership and sell those items as a group.

In terms of encumbrances, what position are tax liens? 

Tax liens are a first, prior and perpetual lien against the property. The only lien ahead of a tax lien purchased this year is a prior year’s tax lien.

Purchase reports and account balance? 

A buyer balance sheet is available any time in the conference room.

What is a tax lien sale certificate of purchase? 

A tax lien certificate is a legal document that names you as the holder of the lien and sets the interest rate.

Will I get the original tax lien sale certificate of purchase? 

No, Boulder County Treasurer retains all Tax Lien Sale Certificates of Purchase for safekeeping. Copies will be mailed to you within a week following the sale.

May I sell the tax lien sale certificates of purchase to another party?

Yes, tax lien certificates may be to another party.  

  • All certificates must be notarized
  • Each certificate must be recorded with the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder
    • There is a charge for recording each certificate  
  • The new certificate holder must complete an IRS W-9 form

What is an endorsement of subsequent taxes? 

If you hold a tax lien, and the property owner does not pay taxes for the 2nd (+) year, you have the option of adding that next year’s delinquent taxes to your certificate.

Do I have to pay subsequent taxes each year? 

No. This is optional. If you do not endorse unpaid taxes, the property will go to the next tax lien sale. 

Endorsement notification  

  • In July, the Treasurer’s office will send you a notice of any certificates eligible for endorsement along with amounts
  • This will include an endorsement fee of $5
  • The endorsement fee is paid by the property owner when they redeem the property
  • The interest rate for endorsements is the rate of your original lien

How do property owners cure (redeem) a tax lien? 

  • All tax lien sale redemptions must be made through the Treasurer’s office. 
  • Redemptions can be made at any time.  
  • Redemptions will include at least one month’s interest. 

Treasurer’s Deed information 

  • If the property owner does not pay property taxes 3 years from the date of the original tax lien sale, you can request a Treasurer’s Deed
  • The treasurer’s Deed process may take six months to a year depending on circumstances
  • Successfully processed applications give you title to the property
  • Less than ½ of 1% of tax liens go to tax deed

Bankruptcy on tax lien properties 

  • Bankruptcy properties cannot be endorsed
  • The Treasurer’s Office monitors bankruptcies and collects taxes through the court. The properties are redeemed at the time of a bankruptcy sale. 

Interest payments 

Interest is only paid when the tax lien is redeemed. There are no other interest payments.

1099 reports to the IRS  

1099 reports are filed with the IRS each year on redeemed properties. 



Treasurer's Office
303-441-3598 (fax)

Mailing Address

PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306-0471

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