Tax Sale Excess Funds – Claims and Distribution Information
The overage amount, known as ‘excess funds,’ from the tax sale of a property in which the final bid is greater than the amount due for taxes and fees, is held in escrow by the tax commissioner’s office. Anyone who has a legal interest in the property prior to the time of the tax sale (such as a mortgage company or anyone who holds a duly recorded lien against the owner of the property) in addition to the property owner, may file a claim for the excess funds with the Tax Commissioner’s Office.
If the owner of the property sold at a tax sale has a balance due on a mortgage that is greater than the amount of excess funds, the excess funds will most likely be paid over to the mortgage company. Excess funds are not distributed to third parties by this office unless that third party is a licensed attorney for the claimant. Attorneys need to provide their state bar number as verification. The Tax Commissioner’s Office does not recognize a legal relationship of “representation” by an asset recover firm, nor by an individual who has been granted Power of Attorney.
Please note that you are not required to pay, or be represented by, any third party in order to claim excess funds.
If competing claims for the excess funds are presented, an interpleader action may be filed in superior court for determination as to proper distribution. Claims by lien holders must include a current payoff statement. Rights to excess funds are controlled and established by state law which determines the priority of liens and which ones get paid first. All claims and excess funds of $100,000 and over will automatically be interplead with the superior court in most cases.
The time it takes to review the claim varies and is dependent upon the number of claims received, as well as the documentation included with the claim forms. A minimum of 60 days is provided for claimants to file when multiple potential claimants are known. Actual determination may be longer when potential claimants are difficult to locate and notified of excess funds availability. Failure of a claimant to file for excess funds does not eliminate their rights to said funds.
All claimants should return the Excess Funds Claim Form along with supporting documents ( i.e. Government issued photo ID, proof of financial interest, letter of testamentary, etc.) and contact information (including phone number), to John Crawford, Hall County Tax Commissioner’s Office, P.O. Box 1579, Gainesville, Georgia 30503.
Heirs of deceased property owners may not be paid directly from this office. Claims from heirs usually must be made via the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased property owner. It is the Probate Court’s purview to oversee the administration of estates.