General Tax Sale Information

We have been getting questions concerning the various tax sales offered by the Tax Claim Office in Westmoreland County. We hope this general information helps clarify a few of those questions.

Delinquent Taxes

First of all, there are 65 districts in Westmoreland County. Each district has a local tax collector which collects the county, municipal, and school taxes for the current year. If any of those taxes are left unpaid by December 31 of the current year, they are turned over to us for collection as one delinquent annual total, which accumulates at 0.75% interest on a monthly basis. Our office does accept payments in the form of certified funds or cash. We do not accept personal or business checks for payments of taxes.

Tax Sales

Each year we hold an annual upset sale for properties owing two years prior taxes. The property owners have up through the Friday before the sale to pay off all delinquent taxes owing, which would pull the property from the sale. This tax sale is not free and clear, so buyers beware. The purchasers pay for the bid the day of the sale. If the courts approve the sale, a deed, or bill of sale for mobile homes, is prepared in December.
All properties that remain unsold in this upset sale will go into the judicial sales process. This can be a lengthy process involving a series of stages, the end result being the property going into a judicial sale, which is free and clear of all mortgages, liens and judgments, with the exception of federal. The purchaser pays the bid the day of the sale, and a deed or bill of sale (for a mobile home) is prepared within a few weeks.

Bid-Off Sales

The properties that are unsold in each judicial sale are up for a repository bid-off sale. Anyone may put their names into the files within 10 calendar days after each judicial sale to have the right to bid on those properties. Which are free and clear. If there is only one person interested, they get the bid. If there is more than one person interested, a repository bid-off sale is set and they bid-off against each other for the property. The bid is paid the day of the sale, then there is a 40-calendar-day waiting period to allow the commissioners, the local municipality and the school district time to consent to sell the property. If approved a deed is then prepared. If denied, the tax office cannot sell the property to that bidder, a full refund is processed.

If there are properties still unsold after the annual, judicial, and repository bid-off sales, then the property is placed in the regular repository, at which point anyone, with the exception of the property owners, may bid on the property. If the tax claim director accepts the bid, the purchaser pays that day and there is a 40-calendar day waiting period for consent. This is a free and clear sale. A deed is prepared once consent is received. If consent is denied, a full refund is processed.

Other Reminders

  • Lists are made for each of our sales.
  • Annual upset sale lists are advertised in local newspapers.
  • Judicial sales lists are available in the tax office prior to each sale, as well as on our website.
  • Repository lists are available on-line.
  • We do not mail lists out due to the fact they only give you the current owners name, the property tax map number, and the case file number. There are computers and books of public information available for public use at the various offices in the courthouse, to do further research in person.
  • Each purchaser is responsible for doing their own research to know what they are buying.
  • Please provide a map number when making inquiries.
  • By law, buyers are required to submit to the Tax Claim Bureau a certification or an affidavit stating that he or she owes no taxes in Westmoreland County or any municipal liens. Certification must be submitted within 20 days of purchase of property at any tax claim sale. Please download an affidavit.
  • Each purchaser is responsible for paying the transfer tax and the recording fee.
  • $25 is added to each bid for deed preparation.

Please note: We do not handle sheriff sales in this office. All inquiries should be directed to the Sheriff’s office.

Again, the tax office handles the annual upset sale, judicial sales, repository bid-off sales and regular repository sales.