Tax Deed Sale
What is the tax deed sale?
The tax deed sale is a public auction where properties are sold for unpaid real estate taxes. While the auction itself is conducted by the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court, the process begins with the Tax Collector’s office.
The Tax Collector holds an auction every year called the tax certificate sale, where certificates are sold on real estate parcels with delinquent taxes. These certificates become a first lien on the property, and the owner must pay the taxes, plus interest and fees to prevent the property from eventually being sold at the tax deed sale.
If taxes remain unpaid after two years from the date of delinquency, the certificate holder may file a tax deed application with the Tax Collector’s office to begin the process of selling the property at a public auction. Before the tax deed process begins, the Tax Collector automatically sends a courtesy warning letter to the property owner, where the certificate interest rate is 5% or less. This letter reminds the owner that unless he pays delinquent taxes and fees, the tax deed process will begin and the property may be sold. The letter includes a payment cut-off date, and once that date has passed, the certificate holder can start the tax deed process. If a certificate holder anticipates starting tax deed on certificates with an interest rate greater than 5%, he must send our office a list of parcel and certificate numbers, so we can send a courtesy warning letter. A tax deed application can be made after the payment cut-off date has passed.
Certificate holders use a program called DeedExpress to run estimates and make application for tax deed. They may register with DeedExpress by contacting us at email@example.com or 727-464-3409.
To begin tax deed, the certificate holder must pay all outstanding taxes, along with an application and title search fee. We prefer to receive this payment through a wire transfer, but we also accept certified funds and cash. The Clerk of the Circuit Court will contact applicants throughout the process regarding any additional fees they may be responsible for.
After a tax deed application has been filed
After the tax deed application has been filed, it takes about 3 – 6 months for a property to go to auction. At any time in the process, the property owner can stop the tax deed action by paying all taxes due, plus interest and fees. Once the tax deed action has started, however, interest begins accruing at 18% annually, starting the month after application until the owner pays the taxes and fees or the auction occurs.
- Tax certificates last for seven years, as long as no other administrative or legal proceedings exist. After the two-year window described above, a certificate holder may file a tax deed application at any time before the certificate expires.
- Before a tax deed application has been filed, the delinquent property owner can pay taxes one year at a time to avoid any tax deed action. Once tax deed has started, all outstanding taxes are rolled into one amount plus any accrued interest, costs and charges. This amount must be paid by cash, certified funds or wire transfer.
- Before filing a tax deed application, certificate holders must register with firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 727-464-3409.
- To begin a tax deed application, certificate holders must pay all outstanding taxes, an application fee and title search fee.
- For more information, please contact us at 727-464-3409.
What is a tax deed application?
A tax deed application is the first step in the process of bringing a property to sale at a public auction due to unpaid delinquent real estate taxes.
Who/When can I initiate a tax deed application?
Certificate holders can initiate the tax deed application after two years from April 1 of the year the tax certificate was issued, as required by Florida law.
I have allowed the two-year redemption period. How do I initiate a tax deed application? Please email email@example.com with a list of the parcel and certificate numbers on which you wish to make application. A warning letter must be sent to the owners giving them a final opportunity to pay before the Tax Deed begins.
What is a warning letter?
This is a courtesy letter our office mails to the property owner. These letters are sent after the certificate holder notifies the Tax Collector he wants to start the process. The warning letter gives an absolute deadline for payment (usually around the 20th – 25th of the month). Once that deadline passes and taxes remain unpaid, the certificate holder may go forward with the tax deed application.
I have received a warning letter. Can the date be extended?
No. Once the deadline in the letter passes, the certificate holder may start the tax deed process anytime. Once tax deed begins, all outstanding taxes are rolled into one amount, plus any accrued interest, costs and charges. This combination will become the new amount due.
A tax deed has started on my property. Can I stop it by making payments?
No, once the tax deed action has started, all outstanding taxes at the time of application are rolled into one amount due. This must be paid in full, along with any accrued interest, costs and charges in order to stop the tax deed action.
I am not the current owner of the property, but if I pay the required tax amount before the auction, does that give me ownership?
No. Paying the required amount – also known as redeeming the tax deed – satisfies the lien and allows the current owner to retain ownership. If you are interested in owning the property, you need to contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court about becoming a bidder in the auction.
What are the accepted forms of payment to redeem a tax deed?
Payment must be made in cash, wire transfer or certified funds, payable to Diane Nelson, Pinellas County Tax Collector. If you wish to make payment by wire transfer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for wiring instructions. We do not accept personal checks or credit cards for tax deed payments.
My property is in tax deed, and I just filed for bankruptcy, what do I need to do?
Please contact us immediately at 727-464-3409 or email@example.com for guidance. If you have a case number, please provide us with that information.
My property is in tax deed. What is the latest date I can pay to stop the sale from taking place?
To stop the sale, payment can be made in full anytime before the sale. Payment must be made with cash or certified funds made payable to Diane Nelson, Pinellas County Tax Collector.