Q Following the passage of SB 2240 which permits online tax sales, may a county board or the county tax collector limit the number of bidders in a tax sale, regulate the number of bidders under common ownership, and/or charge a bidder a fee in order for a bidder to register in a county tax sale?

A No, it is clear from the language of the statute governing tax sales, Section 27-41-59, that the Legislature intended tax sales to be a competitive process so that a county may sell the land of each delinquent taxpayer to the highest bidder, in order to obtain the most cash to satisfy the amount of unpaid taxes owed to the county. Thus, absent specific statutory authority, the number of bidders may not be limited. Limiting the number of bidders may potentially destroy the competitive nature of the bidding process. Requiring a fee may also result in a less competitive tax sale, contrary to the intent of the Legislature. Charging a fee should not be borne by potential bidders. To do so may could negatively affect the tax collector’s ability in obtaining the highest bidder for the land. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Morgan, August 19, 2016)