Sale Information

Public Sale

Most tax-forfeited parcels are appraised and offered at public auction and sold to the highest bidder. The minimum bid accepted is the appraised value.

Parcel sold at Public Auction held December 8, 2023

Private Sale

Sale of tax forfeited land to an adjacent landowner. 

Types of Tax Forfeiture Sales:

  • Public Auction Sales - Parcels are initially offered for sale to the general public at a public auction and are sold to the highest bidder.
  • Parcels not sold at an auction may be offered for sale the day following the auction, at the discretion of the Taxpayer Services Division, and purchased by anyone offering to pay the appraised price. The price cannot be changed unless a parcel is re-appraised, advertised and again offered at public auction.
  • Adjoining Landowner (Private) Sales - Parcels are offered for sale to the adjoining landowner, if the sale meets certain requirements or conditions.

Assurance Fee:

The Tax Forfeited Lands section collects a fee in the amount of 3% of the total sale price, which is in addition to the purchase price of the parcel. The 3% fee is deposited in the state treasury and credited to the general fund.


  • Sales are subject to existing leases, to building restrictions appearing of record at the time of forfeiture and to easements in effect at the time of forfeiture.
  • The County makes no warranty that the land is buildable. All property is sold "as is" and may not conform to local building and zoning ordinances. You may wish to contact the city where the land is located for details of building codes or zoning laws.
  • Washington County is not responsible for locating or determining property lines or boundaries.
  • All sales are final and no refunds or exchanges are permitted.
  • The appraised value does not represent a basis for future taxes.


Forfeited property that is sold at a public or private sale, on or before December 31st of an assessment year shall be placed on the assessment rolls for that year’s assessment, per Minnesota Statutes, section 272.02, subd. 38(c).

Assessment or Reassessment:

If municipal special assessments were cancelled at forfeiture, the municipality that made the improvement may make a reassessment or a new assessment to the property, per Minnesota Statutes, section 429.071, subd. 4.

Fees and charges related to cancelled special assessments also may be certified against the property.

The purchaser(s) will assume local improvement assessments not yet certified to the property.


When the purchase price and additional costs are paid in full the purchaser will receive a deed from the State of Minnesota, Commissioner of Revenue, through the Department of Property Records and Taxpayer Services. The law provides that this conveyance shall have the force and effect of a patent from the state. The forfeiture does create a break in the chain of title which must be corrected to secure a marketable title. As other flaws may exist in the title, services of an attorney may be necessary to make the title marketable.