(a)(1) The excess arising from the sale of any real estate remaining after paying the amount of the decree of sale, including costs and expenses subsequently accruing, shall be paid over to a person or entity who has redeemed the property as authorized in Section 40-10-120 or any other provisions of Alabama law authorizing redemption from a tax sale, provided proof that the person or entity requesting payment of the excess has properly redeemed the property is presented to the county commission within three years after the tax sale has occurred. The county commission may retain any interest earned on those funds. Until and unless the property is redeemed, the excess funds from the tax sale shall be held in a separate account in the county treasury during the three-year period. If at the end of the three-year period there has been no proper request for the excess funds, those funds and any interest earned on those funds shall be deposited to the credit of the general fund of the county and shall thereafter be treated as part of the general fund of the county.
(2) The Department of Revenue shall promulgate rules authorizing the county commission to issue a voucher in the amount of the excess bid to a person or entity which has paid all other costs of redemption as required in this subsection. The person or entity redeeming property may present the voucher to the judge of probate in lieu of the amount equal to the excess bid to complete the redemption process. The rules promulgated by the department shall include forms to be utilized for issuing such vouchers.
(b) At any time more than three years but within 10 years after a tax sale, the excess funds arising from the sale shall be paid to either of the following:
(1) To any person or entity entitled to redeem under Section 40-10-83, or any other provisions of law authorizing redemption from the tax sale, upon proof of a circuit court order granting redemption to the person or entity.
(2) To the owner of the land at the time of the tax sale or a subsequent owner, upon proof provided to the tax collector or other official performing those duties that the land has been redeemed by negotiated agreement from the purchaser at the tax sale or the purchaser's successor in interest. Proof of negotiated redemption agreement shall include the following:
a. A copy of a properly recorded deed or conveyance to the redeeming party executed by the party from whom redemption was made.
b. If the redeeming party was not the owner of the land at the time of the tax sale, a copy of a properly recorded deed or conveyance from the owner at the time of the tax sale to the subsequent owner.
c. If the party from whom redemption was made is a successor in interest of the tax sale purchaser, a copy of a properly recorded deed or conveyance from the tax sale purchaser to the successor in interest.
(c) Upon receipt of proof of redemption as required in subsection (b), the county commission shall order the payment of the excess funds as provided therein and retain any interest earned on those funds. If proof of redemption is not received within 10 years after the tax sale, the excess funds and any interest earned on the funds shall become the property of the county.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the process for calculation, distribution, and retention of any excess funds resulting from the sale of real estate for taxes, including any interest earned on the funds, shall be governed by this section and shall apply regardless of when the tax sale occurred. Any prior actions taken regarding excess funds and any interest earned on the funds which were made in good faith reliance pursuant to this section prior to July 2, 2017, are ratified, validated, and affirmed.