Individuals eager to follow the Lake County and Indiana tax sales process may no longer be able to bid in hopes of purchasing tax-deferred property.
This is the message from the Indiana General Assembly after lawmakers gave final approval to the Senate Enrolled Act on Thursday 28th and voted to send it to Republican Governor Eric Holcomb for the law to be signed.
The measure expressly prohibits people who owe tax debts from bidding on real estate in the case of tax sales by the district. It also prevents unauthorized bidders from hiding behind a company or business unit to purchase tax-deductible sales property.
In order to enforce this provision, any tax sales bidder must acknowledge, under penalty of perjury, that they know and agree to comply with the standards for eligibility to bid.
Additionally, the law provides that ineligible bidders who nonetheless buy into a tax sale may forfeit their acquisitions and lose some or all of the money they paid for them.
If an ineligible bidder is discovered after the tax sale process is complete and the property has already been sold to an unaffiliated buyer, the property will not be taken back. The ineligible bidder can still face fines and penalties.
Lake County and other Indiana local governments routinely auction properties whose owners are in arrears with tax payments to make up for otherwise lost income and give potential winners the opportunity to take ownership of the property.
But every year people who are already behind on their taxes try to play the system, especially in Lake County, which results in thousands of homes being constantly churned up by tax sales after tax sales due to unpaid taxes.
The bipartisan legislation was sponsored by State Sens. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell; Eddie Melton, D-Gary; and Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago; and State Representative Hal Slager, R-Schererville; Julie Olthoff, R-Crown Point; and Mike Aylesworth, R-Hebron.