Treasurer's Office:

Treasurer's Office
Property Tax Sale

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the annual tax sale take place?
The annual tax sale will take place on Thursday, December 28, 2017 in the County Board room on the Third Floor of the Rock Island County Office Building which is located at 1504 Third Avenue in Rock Island, Illinois. The sale will begin at approximately 9:00 a.m.
Why does Rock Island County have an annual tax sale?
The annual tax sale–legally mandated and governed by state law–is part of the Illinois property tax system. In Illinois, the property tax is the single largest source of local taxes. Selling taxes helps the various taxing bodies (schools, villages, parks, townships, libraries, public health and safety agencies, etc.) meet their financial commitments. For property owners, the financial consequence of having property taxes sold generally exceeds the cost of paying the tax. If a property owner’s taxes are sold, fees and costs rise substantially. The combination of the high cost of redemption and the potential of losing property is the enforcement mechanism that Illinois employs—and that other states employ with similar methods. If taxes are sold, the taxing agencies receive the full amount of taxes due from the successful tax buyer, plus county penalties and a number of county fees that have been established by state law for meeting the costs of conducting tax sales. The delinquent tax portion of the money is distributed to local taxing bodies and is available for their budgetary needs. When taxpayers eventually redeem taxes, their funds reimburse the tax buyers. If the taxpayer fails to redeem, the certificate of tax purchase may be used to seek a tax deed or can be sold to another party who may pursue a tax deed.
How is the Annual Tax Sale initiated?
There are a number of required steps leading up to the
  1. The Treasurer publishes the delinquency lists in various newspapers.
  2. The published notice provides information as to when the Treasurer will apply to the Circuit Court for judgment to begin a tax sale. The published notice also contains the date, time and place the Treasurer plans to hold the sale.
  3. The Treasurer makes application to the Circuit Court for judgment and order of sale.
  4. The Court rules on any objections, and then orders the sale to commence on the date previously published, or within five (5) business days of that date.
Who runs the tax sale?
The Treasurer's Office runs the annual tax sale. The Clerk's Office also has an official role in recording the transactions in the Annual Tax Judgment, Sale, Redemption and Forfeiture Record. The Clerk's Office has the primary role in post-sale activities relating to notice of sale, tax searches, payment of other delinquencies, and all of the steps leading up to a petition for tax deed.
What is a tax buyer?
A tax buyer is a registered and qualified bidder at the tax sale, and is the legal entity to which Certificates of Purchase will be issued on successful bids. Registered tax buyers can be a partnership, a limited liability partnership (LLP), a corporation (LLC), a charitable organization (501(c)(3)), or an individual.
How long may a property owner wait to pay to avoid sale?
The last day to pay Rock Island County Real Estate Taxes in person will be December 27, 2017. If paid by mail, the payment must be received by 8:30 A.M. on Thursday morning, December 28, 2017.
Do delinquent taxpayers have to pay costs of the certified delinquent notice or of publication?
Yes. By state law, there is a $10.00 publication fee on top of any late penalties due.
After the list has been published, where can it be viewed?
The delinquency list is available for public inspection in the Treasurer's Office. Copies are also available for sale through the Treasurer's Office for $100.00 per list, after notices have been published in area newspapers.
How does bidding work?
Unlike most other auctions, the annual sale is a strange auction because bids are not made in cash amounts and taxes are not sold to the highest bidder. The bidding process is designed to ensure that taxpayer/owners will be able to redeem their taxes at the lowest possible interest rate. When a taxpayer redeems their taxes from a tax buyer, they pay the amount paid by the tax buyer at the sale, plus interest. At the annual tax sale, it is on this rate of interest that tax buyers bid. The person who bids the lowest rate of interest (between 0% and 18%) will win a bid. The amount of money to be paid for the lien on taxes is not in question at the annual tax sale: the tax buyer must always pay the entirety of the delinquent taxes, along with costs and interest.
Where and when can tax buyers register?
Tax buyers can register in the Treasurer’s Office. Registration begins approximately ninety (90) days before the sale commences and ends ten (10) business days prior to tax sale date..
What are the registration requirements?
In order to register for the annual sale, tax buyers must present the Rock Island County Treasurer's Office with the following at least 10 business days before the sale:
  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Phone Number
  4. Tax Identification Number or Social Security Number
  5. Complete and turn in Tax Sale Registration Form   
Can a tax buyer register multiple entities which can each bid at the tax sale?
There is a “Single, Simultaneous, Related Bidding Entry” rule that prohibits related bidding entities from simultaneously participating in the sale. The reason for this is so that the same entity does not have two or more bidders at the same time, thus increasing the likelihood of its obtaining a parcel in the auction. Essentially, a related bidding entity is a tax buyer (of any of the above types) who has an ownership interest or contractual relationship with any other registrant at the tax sale. The determination of whether registered entities are related is at the sole and exclusive discretion of the Rock Island County Treasurer. Related entities may register for the Tax Sale, but may not be bidding at the same time. This means, for enforcement purposes, that both may not be present at the sale at the same time. At the time of registration, the tax buyer, or their authorized agent, must affirm their adherence to the above rule, under penalty of perjury.
Are there people who are prohibited from bidding in the tax sale?
The County Officer Property Sale Act prohibits Rock Island County employees, their employees, their relatives (spouse or child), and their representatives from all tax sales: “No county officer, and no person employed by, or who is a relative or representative of, any county officer in the State of Illinois, while in office or holding office or while in such office or employment, shall have, possess or acquire any pecuniary interest, directly, indirectly or beneficially, or by any derivative process, in any real estate tax forfeiture or foreclosure in the county in which such county officer presides, other than the fee provided by law for the official duties of any such county officer in such proceedings. For purposes of this Section "relative" shall be defined as a spouse or child, or the spouse of a child, including a child by adoption.” Violation of this provision is a class B misdemeanor. Aside from these restrictions, and the restrictions naturally implied by the registration process (e.g., the sale is restricted to people who have completed applications within the appropriate time frame), bidding is relatively unrestricted.
Does the tax buyer have to buy subsequent delinquent taxes, that is taxes which become delinquent after the sale?
The tax buyer does not have to purchase the subsequent taxes. It is necessary to do so, however, in order to proceed to tax deed.
What does the tax buyer who wins a bid on taxes have to pay?
In order to receive the certificate of purchase, the tax buyer must pay for the following:
  • The taxes, penalties, and any fees associated with the annual sale purchase. These must be paid before the close of business on the sale day
What additional costs are associated with an annual sale purchase?
Each annual sale purchase carries the following costs:
  1. Publication cost of $10.00
  2. Clerk cost of $4.00
  3. Automation Fund Fee of $10.00
  4. Collector's Tax Fee Fund $60.00
  5. Indemnity Fund Fee of $20.00
  6. any additional fees due to changes in county ordinances, state law or court rulings.
What happens when delinquent taxes on a parcel are offered and not sold?
Delinquent property taxes that are not picked up by the buyers at the sale are sold to the Rock Island County Trustee. A tax sale to the Trustee does not actually change the legal status of the parcel; it merely signifies that the tax lien remains with Rock Island County.

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Louisa A. Ewert Click to send e-mail - Treasurer
Rock Island County Office Building (map ExternalLink.gif)
First Floor - 1504 Third Avenue, Rock Island IL 61201

Phone: (309) 558-3510      Fax: (309) 558-3511      Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM - Monday thru Friday