Delinquent Real Estate Taxes

Real estate taxes become delinquent on April 1st each year. Florida Statutes require the Tax Collector to advertise the delinquent parcels in a local newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks following the payment deadline. Advertising and collection fees are 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. The sale is conducted in reverse auction style with participants bidding downward on interest rates starting at 18%. The certificate is awarded to the lowest bidder.

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 redemption check is then issued to the certificate holder. All delinquent taxes must be paid in certified funds. Only cashiers checks, money orders, or cash will be accepted as payment for delinquent taxes.

A tax certificate is valid for seven years from the date of issuance. The holder may apply for a tax deed when two or more years have elapsed since the date of delinquency. If the property owner fails to pay the tax debt, the property tax deed is sold at public auction.