CHAPTER 11A. COLLECTION AND ENFORCEMENT OF PROPERTY TAXES.

§11A-3-18. Limitations on tax certificates.

(a) No lien upon real property evidenced by a tax certificate of sale issued by a sheriff on account of any delinquent property taxes may remain a lien on the real property for a period longer than 18 months after the original issuance of the tax certificate of sale.

(b) All rights of a purchaser to the property, to a lien on the property, or to any other interest in the property, including, but not limited to any right to a tax deed, shall be considered forfeited and expired, and no tax deed is to be issued on any tax sale evidenced by a tax certificate of sale where the certificate has ceased to be a lien pursuant to the provisions of this section and application for the tax deed, pursuant to the provisions of §11A-3-27 of this code, is not pending at the time of the expiration of the limitation period provided in this section.

(c) Whenever a lien evidenced by a tax certificate of sale has expired by reason of the provisions of this section, the State Auditor shall immediately issue and record a certificate of cancellation describing the real estate included in the certificate of purchase or tax certificate and giving the date of cancellation, and the State Auditor shall also make proper entries in his or her records. The State Auditor shall also present a copy of every certificate of cancellation to the sheriff, who shall enter it in the sheriff’s records, and the certificate and the record are prima facie evidence of the cancellation of the certificate of sale and of the release of the lien of the certificate on the lands described in the certificate. Failure to record the certificate of cancellation does not extend the lien evidenced by the certificate of sale. The sheriff and State Auditor are not entitled to any fees for the issuing of the certificate of cancellation, nor for the entries in their books made under the provisions of this subsection.

(d) Whenever a purchaser has complied with the notice requirements provided in §11A-3-19 of this code, but has failed to request a deed within the 18 month deadline provided in this section, thereby forfeiting all rights to a tax deed, the purchaser may recover the amounts paid in excess of the taxes owed and expenses incurred by the State Auditor in the processing of the tax lien if, within 30 days of the expiration of the lien, upon a showing of compliance with the provisions of §11A-3-19 of this code, the purchaser files with the State Auditor a request in writing for the refund. A purchaser who fails to file the request within the 30-day period forfeits all rights to the refund.

(e) Whenever a purchaser has failed to comply with the notice requirements set forth in §11A-3-19 of this code, the purchaser may receive an additional 30 days to comply with the notice requirements set forth in §11A-3-19 of this code if, by December 1st of the year following the sale, the purchaser files with the State Auditor a request in writing for the extension and makes payment by cash, cashier check, certified check, or money order in the amount of $100 or 10 percent of the total amount paid on the day of sale set forth in §11A-3-5 of this code, whichever is greater. The fee for issuing the certificate of extension shall be $25 made payable to the State Auditor.

(f) The State Auditor shall each month draw his or her warrant upon the Treasury payable to the county board of education of each county for payment received by him or her for the extension of the time period set forth in subsection (e) of this section for property located within each such county.