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*Unpaid amounts due increase immediately if county held certificate is purchased.
Real estate taxes become delinquent on April 1st of each year at which time a 3 percent penalty is added. Once taxes become delinquent, cashier’s check, money order, cash or credit card are the only acceptable forms of payment. The date the payment is received in the office determines the amount due. Florida Statutes require the Tax Collector to advertise the delinquent parcels in a local newspaper once a week for three weeks prior to the sale of a tax certificate. The Board of County Commissioners awards the advertisement job to the local newspaper with the lowest job bid. Advertising cost is added to the delinquent taxpayer’s bill.
Beginning on or before June 1st, the Tax Collector is required by law to hold a Tax Certificate Sale. The certificates represent liens on all unpaid real estate properties. The sale allows citizens to buy certificates by paying off the owed tax debt and penalties. The sale is conducted in reverse auction style with participants bidding downward on interest rates starting at 18 percent. The certificate is awarded to the lowest bidder.
Beginning with the sale of 2007, the sales are now conducted ‘online’. Bidders will register online, submitting the following information:
- Name(s) in which the certificates will be issued.
- Mailing address
- E-Mail address
- Phone number
- Social Security number
- Federal ID Number.
Each bidder must make a deposit of 10% of what they intend to spend.
A tax certificate, when purchased, becomes an enforceable first lien against the real estate. The certificate holder is actually paying the taxes for a property owner in exchange for a competitive bid rate of return on his investment. In order to remove the lien, the property owner must pay the Tax Collector all delinquent taxes plus accrued interest, penalties and advertising fees. The Tax Collector then notifies the certificate holder of any certificates redeemed and a refund check is issued to the certificate holder.
A tax certificate is valid for seven years from the date of issuance. The holder of any tax certificate, at any time after 2 years have elapsed since April 1 of the year of issuance of the tax certificate and before the expiration of 7 years from the date of issuance, may file for an application for tax deed. If the property owner fails to pay the tax debt, the property tax deed is sold at public auction.
Buyer Beware is good advice. The purchase of tax certificates is not without risk.
Tax Certificate Sale Information
The Tax Certificate Sale is held online and the website in which the sale is conducted is located at LienHub.com
Florida Statutes 197.432-602 cover the procedures for tax certificates and tax deeds and are available at Leg.state.fl.us
Bankruptcy as it Pertains to tax Certificates
Upon notice of Bankruptcy the Tax Collector files a claim for unpaid taxes. Tax Certificates and Certificate Holders and their addresses are noted on the claim. No action may be taken to collect on a tax certificate or tax deed application filed while the property is protected by bankruptcy. Your certificate does not expire while the property is in bankruptcy.