Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 9. Sale of Personal Property

Sale Of Personal Property For Delinquent Taxes -- Fee -- Disposition Of Proceeds -- Unsold Property

15-17-911. Sale of personal property for delinquent taxes -- fee -- disposition of proceeds -- unsold property. (1) The tax on personal property may be collected and payment enforced by the seizure and sale of any personal property in the possession of the person assessed. Seizure and sale are authorized at any time after the date the taxes become delinquent or by the institution of a civil action for its collection in any court of competent jurisdiction. A resort to one method does not bar the right to resort to any other method. Any of the methods provided may be used until the full amount of the tax is collected.

(2) The provisions of 15-16-119 and this section apply to a seizure and sale under subsection (1).

(3) (a) A sale under subsection (1) must be:

(i) conducted at public auction;

(ii) conducted under the provisions of 25-13-701(1)(b); and

(iii) noticed as a treasurer's sale of personal property seized for taxes.

(b) The return on the levy and sale must be signed by the sheriff or deputy sheriff as ex officio deputy county treasurer.

(4) (a) The county treasurer shall charge $25 or a fee set by the county commissioners, plus the cost, as defined in 15-17-121, of the collection of delinquent personal property taxes. The cost must be assessed against the delinquent taxpayer and is in addition to any sheriff's fees, mileage, and costs charged under subsection (4)(b).

(b) The sheriff is entitled to the fees, mileage, and costs as provided in 7-32-2141 and 7-32-2143, which must be assessed against the delinquent taxpayer.

(5) On payment of the price bid for any property sold as provided in this section, delivery of the property, with a bill of sale, vests the title of the property in the purchaser.

(6) (a) After sale of the property, the proceeds of the sale must be used first to reimburse the county for all costs and charges incurred in seizing the property and conducting the sale. Any excess, up to the total amount of the taxes owed, must be distributed proportionally to the funds that would have received the taxes if they had been paid before becoming delinquent. Any remaining excess, up to the amount of the penalty and interest owed, must then be distributed proportionally to the fund that would have received the penalty and interest if they had been paid in full.

(b) Any money collected in excess of the delinquent tax, penalties, interest, costs, and charges must be returned to the person owning the property prior to the sale, if known. If the person does not claim the excess immediately following the sale, the treasurer shall deposit the money in the county treasury for a period of 1 year from the date of sale. If the person has not claimed the excess within 1 year from the date of sale, the county treasurer shall deposit the amount in the county general fund and the person has no claim to it.

(7) Any property seized for the purpose of liquidating a delinquency by a tax lien sale that remains unsold following a sale may be left at the place of sale at the risk of the owner.

(8) The provisions of this section do not apply to property for which delinquent property taxes have been suspended or cancelled under the provisions of 15-23-708 or Title 15, chapter 24, part 17.

(9) The county commission, in its discretion, may cancel any personal property taxes, including penalty, interest, costs, and charges that remain unsatisfied after the property upon which the taxes were assessed had been seized and sold. If the taxes are cancelled, one copy of the order of cancellation must be filed with the county clerk and recorder and one copy with the county treasurer.

History: En. Sec. 15, Ch. 587, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 631, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 36, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 92, Ch. 27, Sp. L. November 1993; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 197, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 29, Ch. 2, L. 2009; amd. Sec. 19, Ch. 145, L. 2021.