Yellowstone County, Montana

Notice of Pending Assignment Form (.pdf)

The Following is a description of the Tax Lien or Assignment process: 
It is your responsibility to study state statute and retain legal counsel.

NOTE! Due to recent legislation the Tax Lien/Tax Deed process has undergone changes. Please study the new Montana Statutes, a link can be found below. Our information below is only an overview.
*You are responsible to use the applicable laws.*


  • August (1st Working Day)
    • County attaches tax liens on first working day of August
    • List of delinquent parcels made available at bottom of this web page
  • August 15th
    • Notice of Pending Assignment must be sent by certified mail and postmarked August 15th to purchase an assignment from the lottery (see August 29th bullet point)
    • Notice is sent to owner of record at mailing address of record
    • Notice cannot be sent earlier than August 15th
    • TIP: On August 15th, please redownload the delinquent list at the bottom of this page. Compare the newly downloaded file to the file you originally downloaded. Only mail notices to the properties still delinquent as of August 15th. This prevents taxpayers receiving a notice that no longer applies and saves printing and mailing costs.
    • Please see MCA 15-17-323 for more information
  • August 28th
    • Please provide the following to our office by noon, August 28th:
      • Certified mailing receipt copies and copies of the Notice of Pending Assignment
      • Payment (cash, check, or cashier's check) if not attending lottery August 29th
      • Assignment Submission form
        • List should be in tax code order of your preference (most desired at top)
        • Only one list will be accepted from each potential lienholder
    • The fee for each assignment is $50.00
    • Please send emails to:
  • August 29th
    • First day most recent tax year assignments can be purchased
      • Vast majority of assignments will be purchased this day
      • In most cases, receipts for the assignments are available on this day
      • Assignment Certificates will be mailed certified as soon as possible
    • How the Tax Liens Will Be Randomly Assigned
      • We use a Lottery Program that uses a randomizer based off the hosting server's system date and time. The original list before the randomization occurs is arranged by business name. All private persons will be in order by last name, first name then middle initial. After the randomization process has been initiated the program is locked and cannot be run again.
      • The program uses the Snake Method from one round to the next (i.e. order reverses back and forth)
        • Program uses the randomized order to award one tax lien to each purchasing entity per round
        • Program selects highest priority tax lien available from excel file for purchasing entity
        • This process repeats until all desired tax liens have been assigned
        • If a parcel has multiple years available, all available years will be included on one assignment
    • Process starts at 3:00 pm on August 29th
      • No last-minute changes will be allowed
      • When the process is done, we will print a list of the awarded assignments by tax code to each lienholder with the total amount owed
      • Purchasing entities in attendance can write a check and leave at this point, or wait for receipts
      • Cash, check, or cashier's check accepted for payment
    • Notice of Pending Assignments must be sent 14-60 days prior to taking an assignment
    • These assignments can be purchased on a first come, first serve basis


  • June 1st - July 30th
    • On existing assignments, lienholders can pay the current year delinquent taxes
      • This is the only time this can be done
      • Paying subsequent taxes adds the taxes to the existing assignment
        • The subsequent tax payment includes penalties and interest as of the date of the payment
      • If the property has Property Tax Assistance, subsequent taxes can be paid June 21st-July 30th
  • If the subsequent taxes are not paid, the county attaches a tax lien, which can be purchased by anyone as a separate assignment
  • The lienholder of the oldest assignment will have to pay off any newer assignments when purchasing a Tax Deed or submitting a Tax Deed Application (see below)


  • Deed or Auction?
    • If the parcel has an owner-occupied residential dwelling, it will be auctioned
    • Any other parcels go to tax deed
  • January
    • County sends a Notice of Obligation to each lienholder
    • Reminds lienholders of responsibilities and deadlines during the year to take the lien to auction or deed
    • County sends different Notices of Obligation for auction and deed properties
      • This determination is only preliminary. If the litigation guarantee or other evidence is contradictory to the original determination, please contact our office.
    • See MCA 15-18-212(3)(a) & 15-18-219(6)(a)
    • County also sends a courtesy Final Warning to current owner
  • February - April
    • Lienholder should have a title company perform a Litigation Guarantee
    • Lienholder should submit paid receipts for Litigation Guarantee to our office to add the cost to the assignment. Please send emails to:
  • May 1st - 30th
    • Notice That a Tax Deed May Be Issued
      • Must be published in a newspaper that meets the requirements of MCA 7-1-2121 twice, with at least six days separating each publication
      • Must be mailed certified, return receipt requested, to all parties listed on the litigation guarantee
      • Notice must be in the form required by MCA 15-18-215(1) for auction properties and 15-18-215(2) for deed properties
      • Submit paid receipts for both publishing and mailing to our office to add the cost to the assignment.
      • For more information, see MCA 15-18-212(1) & 15-18-219(4)(a)
  • 30 Days After May Notice Mailed And Published
    • Proof of Notice must be filed in the Clerk & Recorder's Office within 30 days of mailing and first publishing of notice
    • Must be in form required by MCA 15-18-216
    • For more information, see MCA 15-18-212(7) & 15-18-219(6)(c)
  • July
    • Any tax liens in the final year of the redemption period that have not had a Proof of Notice filed in the Clerk & Recorder's office will be cancelled
      • See MCA 15-18-212(3)(b) & 15-18-219(6)(b)
    • The Sheriff's Office will personally hand-deliver copies of the Notice That a Tax Deed May Be Issued to the owner occupied residential properties
      • Purpose is to discuss the consequences of a failure to respond
      • See MCA 15-18-212(8)
    • Like previous years, subsequent taxes can be paid by lienholder June 1-July 30 or June 21-July 30 for PTAP properties
  • August
    • 1st Working Day
      • Last day of redemption period
    • After the 1st Working Day
      • Deed Properties
        • County issues lienholder a tax deed
        • Tax Deed Fee is $25 & Clerk & Recorder Fee is $8
        • Legal fees incurred by a lienholder are not considered a tax lien cost and are not added to the tax lien
        • County recommends after a lienholder receives a tax deed that they pursue quiet title action
      • Auction Properties
        • Lienholder completes an application for tax deed
          • Application must be submitted by August 5th (or the next business day if the 5th is on a weekend or holiday) per County policy
          • The following amounts must be paid when submitting an application:
            • Application fee: $25
            • Any non-assigned taxes
            • Any other tax assignments
            • Sheriff's fee for delivering Notice: $75
        • County publishes notice of auction within 30 days of submitted application
        • County holds an auction within 60 days of submitted application
          • Opening bid cannot be lowered and must include the following:
            • Amount required to redeem the tax lien
            • Amount paid by the lienholder when submitting Tax Deed Application
            • Tax Deed Fee ($25) & Clerk & Recorder Fee ($8)
            • Half the assessed value of the property OR half the appraised value from an independent appraisal
              • Appraisal must be submitted to the Treasurer's Office, conducted within 6 months of the auction, and must meet the standards set by the Montana board of real estate appraisers
          • Winning bidders who aren't the lienholder must post a deposit of 5% of the bid or $200, whichever is greater, at the time of sale
          • Winning bidder must make full payment by cash or cashier's check, including auction costs, within 24 hours
          • For more information, please see MCA 15-18-219 through 15-18-221

Yellowstone County does not offer legal help to the purchasers or advice to the purchasers of tax liens. Montana statutes are published and distributed by the Montana Legislative Services Division, Capitol Bldg. Rm. 110, 1301 E 6th Avenue, P.O Box 201706, Helena, MT, 59620-1706, phone 406/444-3064; and located online at *Please be sure you are using the applicable law. The new laws may not yet be available online.*

Yellowstone County Treasurer's phone number is 406-256-2802, fax number is 406-254-7928 or you can email .

Tax Lien Certificate Lists

Delinquent List - 2022 (Excel)

Delinquent List - 2022 (Web)

Delinquent List - 2020 - 2021 (Excel)

Delinquent List - 2020 - 2021 (Web)


These .xls files are automatically created when you click on the link, and due to individual security settings in Microsoft Excel, may not open correctly from the browser. Here are a few troubleshooting tips:

- Save the file to your hard drive
- Double-click to open (answer "yes" to the pop-up warning)
If that doesn't work:
- Right click the file on your hard drive, click on "Properties" and at the bottom of the main tab, you may see a button to "Unblock" the file. Click that, and click "Okay".
- Double-click the file to open (answer "yes" to the pop-up warning)