COSL Office Returns over $17M to AR Counties

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark – The Commissioner of State Lands Office returned over $17 million to counties across Arkansas in 2017, Commissioner John Thurston announced.

That turnback, totaling $17,484,793.73, is produced by property owners paying delinquent real estate taxes, and from proceeds in excess of taxes due when the COSL office sells property.

“The sole purpose of collecting delinquent real estate taxes, and selling long-delinquent properties, is to get that funding to the counties where it is owed,” Thurston said. “When we sell properties that have been delinquent for many years, it gets them back onto the county tax rolls, producing income that helps a county with its roads, schools and emergency services.”

The amount of money disbursed to counties varies widely, from just over $4,300 in Newton County to $3.1 million in Pulaski County last year. “Those numbers reflect how many parcels, and their tax value, are certified to us and then redeemed or sold,” Thurston said. “Many rural counties have only a few dozen delinquent parcels, while more urban counties certify hundreds.”

Since Thurston took office in 2011, the COSL has returned more than $135 million to counties across Arkansas.

“We’ve had a few spikes, but overall the past several years have seen a decreasing trend in the number of parcels certified for delinquent taxes,” he said. “That means that property owners are keeping their taxes current, which helps both the owner and the county.”

Property is certified to the COSL Office when it is two years delinquent. Owners then have two more years to redeem the property before it goes to public auction. If a parcel sells at auction, the owner has 10 business days after the sale to redeem the property. Any parcels not sold at auction are placed on the COSL’s post-auction sales list, where the public can submit offers to purchase.

The Commissioner of State Lands offers an online Catalog of Tax Delinquent Lands, containing the current statutes governing the sales, auction dates, times, location and other pertinent information regarding parcels being offered.

The catalog and schedule can be found on the Commissioner’s website at, providing current information resources about each parcel. The 2018 auction season will begin April 3.