Tax Certificate Sale
Real estate taxes become delinquent on April 1. A 3% mandatory interest charge is added to the amount due at that time. If the taxes remain unpaid, the delinquent property will be advertised once a week for 3 consecutive weeks prior to the tax certificate sale and the advertising fee will be added to the tax bill.
The Tax Collector is required by law to hold a tax certificate sale on or before June 1 each year. If payment is not received by 5:00 p.m. on the business day immediately before the date of the certificate sale, a certificate will be issued and additional charges will accrue.
How the sale works
A tax certificate is an enforceable first lien against the property for unpaid real estate taxes. The sale allows investors to purchase certificates by paying the tax debt. The sale is conducted in a reverse auction style with participants bidding downward on interest rates starting at 18%. The certificate is awarded to the bidder who will pay the taxes, interest and costs and accept the lowest rate of interest. If there are no bidders, the certificate is issued to Pinellas County at 18% annual interest. Tax certificates last for seven years, as long as no other administrative or legal proceedings exist.
Paying taxes after the certificate sale
To redeem the certificate, the property owner or his representative, must pay the Tax Collector the delinquent taxes plus accrued interest, advertising costs and fees. Payment of delinquent taxes must be made with a cashier’s check, money order, cash or credit card. The amount due for delinquent taxes is determined by the date received by the Tax Collector and not the postmark. After payment is received and validated, the certificate holder is reimbursed the cost of the certificate plus interest and the lien against the property is removed.
If taxes remain unpaid, the certificate holder may file a tax deed application with the Tax Collector two years after the date of delinquency. The property may be sold at a public auction conducted by the Clerk of the Circuit Court should the property owner fail to pay the tax debt.
For more information about delinquent taxes, please contact us at 727-464-7777.