Delinquent Real Estate Taxes
Real estate taxes become delinquent each year on April 1st. Delinquent taxes must be paid by cash, cashiers check, or money order. 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 consecutive weeks prior to the tax certificate sale.
Beginning on or before June 1st, the Tax Collector is required by law to hold a tax certificate sale. The certificates represent liens on the real estate properties for unpaid taxes. The sale allows citizens to buy certificates for the amount of tax debt including applicable interest and fees. The sale is conducted in an auction style with participants bidding downward on interest rates starting at 18%. The certificate is awarded to the lowest bidder. A tax certificate earns a minimum of 5% interest to the investor until the interest has accrued to greater than 5%, with the exception of "zero" interest bids, which always earn "zero" interest.
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 or her investment. In order to remove the lien, the property owner must pay the Tax Collector all delinquent taxes plus accrued interest, cost, and other charges. The Tax Collector then issues a check to the certificate holder.
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 is sold at a public auction. The highest bidder will receive a tax deed for the property.
Tangible Personal Property Tax (TPP)
Tangible personal property tax is an ad valorem tax assessed against the furniture, fixtures, and equipment located in businesses and rental property. It also applies to structural additions to mobile homes.