If you haven’t paid your taxes, a tax lien certificate will be placed on your property.
A TAX CERTIFICATE: WHAT IS IT?
A tax certificate is a lien on real property that accrues interest at a maximum annual rate of 18%. The delinquent advertisement lists the amount due to purchase a tax certificate next to each parcel. The gross tax, interest, and prorated costs of advertising and the tax certificate sale are all included in this sum.
WHAT IS A SALE OF A TAX CERTIFICATE?
Bids are communicated and selected via the Internet during an electronic tax certificate sale. Each real estate item that is advertised has a separate bid, and the winner gets to pay the unpaid taxes and receive a tax certificate lien in the form of a bid with the lowest interest rate.
The delinquent advertisement publication lists the order in which each item is auctioned. The maximum rate of 18% serves as the starting point for the bidding, which is then reduced by quarter percent. The number and interest rate of the “winning” bidder are recorded. Any item that has not been bid on is “struck” to the county at the end of the sale.
Any user who wishes to “practice” before bidding can use a “test” site. The information entered on the test site will not be transferred or utilized during the actual sale of the tax certificates.
Who is eligible to sign up to bid on a tax certificate?
To bid on a tax certificate, any “person” can register. The “person” who will pay the taxes, interest, costs, and charges and demand the lowest interest rate that is not higher than the maximum rate allowed will receive the tax certificate, as stated in Chapter 197.432(6) of the Florida Statutes.
Is a deposit required of bidders?
There are no deposits required.
When and how can bidding begin?
One must first sign up as a bidder on the tax sale website before participating in the County’s online tax certificate sale. During the sale, the bidder is given an identification number. Bids can be submitted once the advertised items are posted online, typically in the early to middle of May. The advertised items are divided into four lots. A lot is a subgroup of the advertised list that is used to organize tax certificates to make it easier to submit bids. Each lot’s tax certificates are auctioned separately from each other in a sequential order with a distinct sale closing time for each lot. Up until the closing of the lot on the day of the sale, bids can be submitted, withdrawn, or changed at any time.
For foreign bidders to participate in the tax certificate sale, what documentation is required?
Individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITIN numbers) issued by the IRS are required for foreign bidders to participate in the tax certificate sale. The County Tax Collector’s Office requires an original W-8 form in addition to any supporting documentation following completion of the online registration process. For complete information, please call Tax Administration at (850) 606-4700, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST. Only payments made through U.S. banks can be processed via ACH. Transfers by wire are not accepted.
What should I do if the Internet Tax Certificate Sale System causes me problems?
You can always send a support request through the Contact Us page. A web browser and a computer with internet access are required for a bidder. Netscape 7.1 or later; Internet Explorer 7.0 or later or Firefox from Mozilla
When multiple bids are received for the same item, how is the winning bid determined?
A bidder will incrementally lower his bid during a live (in person) tax certificate sale until he is the only bidder left or until the interest falls below his acceptable minimum level, at which point he would withdraw. Proxy bidding is used in the Internet sale, in contrast to the live sale. Proxy bidding is a type of competitive bidding in which bidders specify the lowest possible interest rate for each certificate. Bids will be submitted by the tax certificate sale system on behalf of each bidder. The electronic agent keeps lowering the bid to submit in quarter-percent increments due to the proxy system until either you are the only bidder left or you reach your lowest minimum bid. Proxy bids will not be accepted for zero percent bids. They will receive zero percent of the award. The auction software will award you the certificate for the actual minimum bid you submitted if you are the only bidder on a certificate and your minimum rate is greater than zero percent. A random selection process using a random number generator determines which bidder receives the award if there is a tie at the winning bid rate. A bidder will never receive a certificate at a rate lower than the minimum rate that was specified as acceptable.
Is safety a problem?
The Tax Collector treats the information you provide for the online tax certificate sale with the utmost level of security, both in terms of storing it and keeping it private. A security certificate is used to transmit your data for your protection. During the registration process, a user password is generated, which is required to access the sale website.
Your password is the key to accessing the County tax sale website, so please remember it carefully. However, if you forget your password, simply clicking the “Forgot Your Password?” link can quickly retrieve it. link on the login page for tax sale. If you are unable to recall your password, you can request that it be sent to you via email. You must use your registered email address to provide your matching personal information in order to accomplish this. Contact us via the support link if this procedure does not work.
When are bidders required to make payment for their purchases?
On June 1, bidders will receive an email with an estimate of the total amount due following the conclusion of awards. By 5:00 p.m. (EST) on the date specified on the Tax Certificate Sale Schedule, all payments must be made via ACH Debit (U.S. Bank only). The certificate(s) and the right to bid on future sales may be forfeited if payment is not made by that date.
If there are no bids, what happens?
After the tax sale is balanced and concluded, any certificates that were not sold will be given to the County and made available for public purchase from the Tax Collector’s office at a time to be announced. According to Florida Statutes, the interest rate on unsold certificates is 18% from the date they were “struck” to the County.
Is this an investment without risk?
No. Although purchasing tax certificates carries some risk, it is generally a safe investment. Some examples of risk are:
The property’s value may be less than the cost of the tax deed process if it significantly decreases in value during subsequent tax years.
The interest rate on the tax certificate would be the lesser of 8 percent or the amount bid if the original taxes were changed.
The certificate holder cannot enforce the lien (apply for a tax deed) or transfer the certificate until the bankruptcy is discharged if the landowner files for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court can also lower the interest rate and/or require payments to be spread out over a number of years.
No other certificate holders are compensated if the property is purchased at the tax deed sale or redeemed prior to the tax deed sale if the County holds a tax certificate and applies for a tax deed. When applying for a tax deed, the County is required by law not to redeem any other outstanding tax certificates. After the auction of the tax deed, the land will eventually escheat to the County, resulting in the loss of the certificate holder’s investment.
REDEEMING TAX CERTIFICATES: HOW?
The property owner must pay the tax certificate amount plus interest calculated from the month of certificate sale to the month of payment in order to clear the tax lien. A mandatory charge of 5% interest is due whenever a tax certificate is redeemed and the interest earned is less than 5% of the certificate’s face value. With an electronic check, you can pay to redeem tax certificates online. County records will show if the account was paid in full right away. Cash, checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, and debit/credit cards are other ways to pay.
How does the tax certificate holder get paid after the certificate is redeemed?
Within 15 business days of the redemption date, the certificate holder will receive a check.
Can the interest be taxed?
Yes. In January, each certificate holder receives a form 1099-INT or 1042-S (for foreign bidders) for interest earned in the previous year. This information is reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
What happens if the tax certificate is rejected?
The holder of the certificate may file a tax deed application, which may ultimately lead to the property being sold at a public auction, also known as a tax deed sale, if the taxes are not paid in full within two years of the date the taxes became due (April 1). If a certificate holder wants to apply for a tax deed, they must redeem all other outstanding certificates, pay any taxes they haven’t paid, and pay interest and any current taxes on the property, if any are due.
A TAX CERTIFICATE’S LIFE SPAN IS WHAT?
The first day of the Tax Certificate Sale, also known as the date of issuance, is the beginning of a tax certificate’s seven-year lifespan. The certificate becomes null and void and the certificate holder loses their investment if they do not apply for a tax deed within seven years and the property owner has not redeemed the certificate.
What happens if a bidder receives a certificate and determines that the bid was submitted incorrectly on the parcel?
The bidder will have to pay for the certificate and bear all transaction costs.
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