Real Estate Delinquent Taxes and Tax Lien Sale

Tax Sale Information

General Information

The Tax Lien Public Auction is usually held around the first part of November. The 2020 auction was held in October, slightly earlier than usual.

Buyers pay the total advertised price consisting of tax, interest to the date of public auction, and an advertising fee. They also pay a $4.00 certificate fee and an $8.00 auction fee plus any premium bid.

The person paying the highest amount is issued a Certificate of Purchase. This is a negotiable document representing a lien on the property. It is valid for 15 years.

The buyer does not recover the premium paid over the starting amount. The certificate earns interest at the rate stated on the certificate with portions of calendar months considered as whole months.

A buyer list showing certificate numbers, parcel numbers, and total paid will be provided to the taxpayer. Buyers are responsible for keeping adequate records.

The Treasury Division is responsible for the public auction of the tax lien, immediate notification to buyers of redemptions, and payment upon surrender of the redeemed certificate (Treasury will hold your certificate if you wish and provide copies to you).

The redemption amount paid is the certificate amount (tax, interest, advertising, and fees), plus redemption interest. The annual redemption interest rate for each year’s public auction is established by adding 9% to the September 1st Federal Reserve discount rate.

One-twelfth of this rate accrues for each month or portion thereof. The September 1, 2020 discount rate was 0.25%. The redemption rate for certificates sold in October of 2020 was 9% or 0.75% per month.

Upon redemption, we notify the buyer to return their certificate for payment of the certificate face value plus accrued interest. If we are holding your certificate, a check will be mailed immediately.

Buyers may, after July 1, pay the subsequent year’s unpaid taxes for endorsement onto their certificates. These payments earn the same rate of interest as does the original public auction.

If the property has not been redeemed after three years from the date of public auction, the buyer can apply for and receive a Treasurer’s Deed to the property. Buyers return their certificates to us and deposit expense money. After a title search, advertising, and notification of all interested parties, a Treasurer’s Tax Deed is issued if there has been no redemption.

Erroneous sales are paid interest at the rate of 2% above the discount rate rounded to the nearest full percent but no lower than 8%. The lower redemption interest rate is applicable to discoveries made after May 23, 1988, and can be applied to the entire certificate regardless of when the certificate was purchased.

If you wish to participate in our public auction, visit our auction website at for the rules and any details. The list of parcels for sale will be available at the auction website about two weeks before the auction starts.

The subject of Tax Lien Public Auctions, Deeds, Redemptions, etc., which are administered by County Treasurers, is covered by Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 39, Articles 11, and 12. 

Any questions should be referred to the Taxpayer Service Unit at 720-913-9300.

Tax Lien Sales Announcements

2020 Public Auction of 2019 Taxes

Information For Tax Lien Public Auction

  • A lien is what the buyers are buying – not the property. The buyers are given a treasurer’s certificate of purchase.
  • Buyers must have registered and deposited electronic funds transfer in order to make purchases. Make sure names are spelled correctly on your registration. Certificates will show the same information.
  • Buyers must be 18 years old or older.
  • Payment transfers that are rejected for any reason, including the lack of funds, may result in cancellation of the corresponding bid(s) and the treasurer may prohibit a person who fails to pay the amount due from bidding on sales for up to five years under §39-11-116, C.R.S.
  • City employees and their immediate family members (meaning a person related by blood, marriage, civil union, or adoption) are not allowed to buy.
  • The “TS” on the right in the newspaper indicates an unredeemed lien from a prior year’s sale. “PARTIALLY PAID” indicates that either the tax is for the second-half or that there is an additional fee for a service lien or maintenance district payment which is due on the parcel. Note that this may be all that is due on the property.
  • The interest rate is 9% on this year’s certificates. Subsequent years can be endorsed to these certificates at the same rate.
  • Be sure that the buyers know how to add on subsequent taxes. Do not just pay the taxes.  The buyers must bring or send in the certificate to be endorsed to the Special Accounts Unit. Subsequent taxes may be added in July annually.
  • The earliest the buyers can apply for a deed is October 2023 for the 2019 tax year. The earliest deed can be issued is three and a half (3.5) years from the tax sale date. The deed fee is $600.00. Unused deed fees will be refunded.

Rules for Annual Tax Lien Sale

City and County of Denver Treasurer’s annual public auction of real estate tax liens for the tax year 2019

General Information

Location of public auction

The annual public auction of real estate tax liens will be held as an internet auction. Tax liens available for bid will be listed at (hereinafter referred to as “Auction Website.”)

Date and time of public auction

Bidding will begin on October 12, 2020, at 8 a.m. M.D.T. and will close on October 14, 2020, at 5 p.m. M.D.T.

Computer workstations

Access to computer workstations for bidding will be available in the City and County of Denver, Treasury Division, 201 West Colfax Avenue, Wellington E Webb Municipal Office Building, Denver, Colorado between September 28, 2020, and October 15, 2020, between the hours of 7:30 a.m. M.D.T. and 4:30 p.m. M.D.T., Monday through Friday.  Access will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

Unpaid tax list and public auction

Publication of the unpaid tax list will be in alphabetical order by property owner name.  The list will be published in The Denver Post on September 11, 18, and 25.  Taxes will be auctioned in parcel identification number order.  The list of the unpaid taxes, in parcel identification number order, will be posted (1) at the Auction Website beginning September 28, 2020, and (2) in the Taxpayer Service area of the Treasury Division for several days before the public auction.  Each parcel will be offered for the amount of taxes, advertising, penalty interest, and fees and will be subject to general bidding.

  • Delinquent Real Estate Tax payments must be received in our office by 4:00 p.m. M.D.T., Friday, October 9, 2020.  Payments will not be accepted during and after that time without redemption interest.
  • Any questions regarding the Annual Public Auction should be directed to the Treasury Division, Taxpayer Service, 201 West Colfax Avenue, Wellington E Webb Municipal Office Building, 1st floor, Denver Colorado 80202, (720) 913-9300.

Bidding rules


Each bidder must register on the Auction Website before they will be allowed to participate in the tax lien sale.  After registering, each bidder will receive a bidding number from the Auction Website that will enable the bidder to place bids.  All bidders must make a deposit on the Auction Website before their bids will be accepted.  Registration and deposits may be made starting September 28, 2020, and must be completed no later than October 7, 2020, at 2 p.m. M.D.T.  No registration or deposits will be allowed after this time.  Each bidder shall make a deposit equal to ten percent (10%) of the total dollar amount of tax liens the bidder anticipates winning.  All deposits shall be made by electronic funds transfer.  Final determination regarding the acceptability of any deposit will be at the discretion of the Treasurer.  If a bidder’s deposit drops below ten percent (10%) of the total dollar amount of all tax liens won, plus the number of active bids, while there are still active bids, the active bids will not be accepted.  Buyers are responsible to ensure the information on their registration is correct since certificates of purchase, redemption checks, and refund checks are prepared from this information.

In accordance with §39-11-115 (2) (c) and (d), C.R.S., minimum bids, and bid increase increments are as follows:

Minimum bids:

The minimum starting bid for each tax lien is equal to the amount of the unpaid taxes, interest, penalties, and fees (the tax lien face value).

Bid Increments:
Bid increments shall be one dollar ($1.00).  Tax liens are awarded to the highest bidder, or in the event of a tie, the winner will be selected at random by the Auction Website, and the winning bid amount will equal the amount of the tie bid.   

Tax liens will be grouped into batches and sold in one-hour increments starting on October 14, 2020, at 8 a.m. M.D.T. and concluding on October 14, 2020, at 5 p.m. M.D.T.  Tax liens in each batch will be identified with a closing time.

Bids may be made starting October 12, 2020, at 8:00 a.m. M.D.T.  Bids will be accepted for each tax lien until the batch containing it closes.  The Auction Website stores the bids for each tax lien until the batch containing it closes.  Prior to the closing of the batch, bidders may change or withdraw their bids.  Once a batch closes, the bids become final and may not be changed or withdrawn. 

Payment for the total amount of the bidder’s winning bids shall be automatically initiated via an Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit no later than October 15, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. M.D.T.  The account debited will be the last successful deposit account.  If a winning bidder fails to pay the amount due by this time, the Treasurer may, in the Treasurer’s sole discretion, award the tax liens to another bidder or may offer the tax lien for sale.  The Treasurer may prohibit a person, who fails to pay the amount due from bidding, from participating in any tax lien sales for up to five years in accordance with § 39-11-116, C.R.S. 

The certificate of purchase issued on a successful bid will show the legal description, purchase amount, and buyer’s name (as entered in registration), interest rate, and date of sale.  Buyers will be notified when their certificates are ready to be picked up.  The City and County of Denver will keep them if the buyer wishes and provide copies.

Redemption interest is 9% per annum.  If parcels are redeemed prior to delivery of certificates, redemption checks will be mailed to buyers and notations made on buyers’ lists of purchases.

Employees and officials of the City and County of Denver and members of their families are not allowed to purchase at the Public Auction.

  • Those investing in tax liens do so at their own risk and are advised to exercise due diligence in carefully analyzing which tax liens to bid on.  There are no guarantees expressed or implied regarding whether a tax lien will prove to be a profitable investment.
  • The property information accessible on the bid pages was obtained from the Assessor’s office prior to the start of the current auction and is for reference only (please note that this property information, provided by the Assessor’s office, represents the most current assessment year, not the tax year associated with this tax lien sale, as taxes are paid one year in arrears). It is the buyer’s responsibility to research auction items thoroughly prior to placing bids.
  • Do not attempt to make any name changes to your existing account.  To make a name change, you must contact the Treasury Division at 720-913-9500.

How and Why to Pay Subsequent Years' Taxes?

The Colorado Revised Statutes - 39-11-119 - provide that a holder of a certificate of purchase may pay any subsequent taxes on the property on which the buyer has an unredeemed certificate and that this payment will be endorsed on the certificate and the tax lien sale book of record in the Treasurer's Office

The payment is made to protect your certificates and to prevent the subsequent delinquent taxes from being sold again at the tax lien public auctions. Payment is recorded on the certificate and on the tax lien sale book to ensure that you will be reimbursed for this additional payment in the event of a redemption. This fee for the endorsement of these payments is $5.00 per certificate. This fee will also be recovered on redemptions.  Delinquent Local Improvement installments may be endorsed on to tax certificates. Certificates must be brought in, left, and processed in the order they are received.

Subsequent payments of delinquent taxes endorsed on certificates purchased in October 2020 draw interest at the rate of 0.75% per month or fraction thereof (9% per annum), from the date of payment. This interest is computed on a monthly basis to the date of redemption.

This may be done at any time, but accrues interest from the date of payment to the date of redemption. Buyers wishing to make subsequent tax payments should bring or send their certificates to the following: 

City and County of Denver
Treasury Division/Special Accounts Unit
201 West Colfax Ave, Dept 1009, MC 401, Wellington E Webb Municipal Office Building
Denver, CO  80202-5330
(720) 913-9500

Treasury will determine the amounts required and will notify buyers so that payment can be made. We will then process the payments and make the necessary entries to the tax lien sale books.

For payment of general taxes, most buyers bring their certificates in during the last two weeks of July. Processing takes several weeks. If redemptions are received during this time, we pull the certificate and mail a check to the tax buyer.

Delinquent Real Property Tax List




Public notice is hereby given that I will, according to the law, offer at Public Auction, by means of the internet at, which Public Auction shall begin on October 12, 2020, at 8 a.m. M.D.T. and end on October 14, 2020, at 5 p.m. M.D.T., tax liens on the following described real estate situated in said City and County of Denver, State of Colorado, on which general taxes for the year 2019 and earlier have not been paid and on which any part of the principal or interest of the special assessments for Storm Drainage Charges, Sanitary Sewer Charges, Improvement Districts, and/or Maintenance Districts levied by the City of Denver, the City and County of Denver, or the duly constituted authorities, have not been paid, as shall be necessary to pay the taxes along with interest, penalties, and applicable fees, to-wit: Bidding rules for the Public Auction will be posted on the internet at beginning on September 28, 2020.

Computer workstations that are available to the public and information about how to obtain instructions on accessing the Public auction and submitting bids are available at City and County of Denver, Treasury Division, 201 West Colfax Avenue, Wellington E Webb Municipal Office Building, Denver, Colorado.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the consequences of not paying real estate property taxes?

If you do not pay your property taxes, you will owe delinquent interest (1% per month) and will receive a delinquency notice in July. Any unpaid taxes will be advertised for sale in the local newspaper and will be sold if they are still not paid by the day before tax lien public auction. The real estate tax lien public auction of unpaid taxes is held in October or November. Each tax lien is equal to the amount of the unpaid taxes, interest, penalty, and fees (the tax lien face value). You will owe monthly redemption interest on the lien total. Redemption interest is based on the Federal Reserve discount rate as of September 1 plus 9%.

What is the consequence of not paying the first half of property taxes due?

The first-half of property taxes due becomes delinquent on March 1 and accrues interest at the rate of 1% per month. The second half is due on June 15. If the entire amount of tax is paid at one time on or before April 30, no interest will be charged.

Can I pay my current year property taxes if I owe prior-year taxes?

You may pay current year taxes without paying prior year taxes until the current year taxes have been added to the prior year tax lien certificate (typically at the end of July) if the prior year taxes were sold. If the prior year taxes are not sold, then you may pay current-year taxes before all outstanding taxes including current and prior-year taxes are sold in real estate tax lien public auction.

What is the consequence of not paying a service lien?

If you do not pay the service lien, the lien will be sold at the tax lien auction and a tax lien will be placed on the property. If the lien is not redeemed within three (3) years from the date of sale, the tax buyer may apply for a deed. The deed to the property will be issued to the tax buyer if there is no redemption made before the deed date, which results in losing the property.

In addition to the taxes and delinquent interest, how much is due if my taxes are sold at the tax lien auction?

If your taxes are sold at the tax lien sale, you will owe the tax lien face value, redemption interest, redemption fee ($7.00), subsequent year endorsement fee ($5.00/year) if any, and any other fees associated with the deed process.

When is the annual tax lien auction?

The 2020 Public Auction for 2019 Real Estate Tax Liens was held from 8:00am October 12 to 5:00 p.m. October 14, 2020,  MDT. The auction was conducted entirely by means of the internet at

Can you withhold my name and/or property address from the advertising of the tax lien auction?


If my taxes went to tax sale, how soon can I pay after the tax lien auction is completed?

You may pay approximately three weeks after the tax lien sale is complete. This typically is around the last week of November. However, the payment will be accepted during and after the tax sale with redemption interest.