Tax Certificate Information
A Tax Certificate is a enforceable first lien against property for unpaid real estate taxes. It is not a purchase of property.
Florida statutes require the Tax Collector conduct a sale of tax certificates beginning on or before June 1st for the preceding year's delinquent real estate taxes.
Prior to the tax certificate sale, the Tax Collector must advertise the delinquent taxes for 3 consecutive weeks in a local newspaper of general circulation. The amount of the certificate is the sum of the unpaid real estate tax and the non-ad valorem assessment, including 4.5% interest for April, May and June, 5% Tax Collector's commission, advertising costs and all other costs of such sale.
Certificates are sold in the order advertised. Bidding begins at 18 percent (the maximum rate) and bids down in decrements of one quarter of one percent. Each certificate is sold individually to the bidder offering the lowest interest rate. In the case of a tie at the lowest rate, the winner will be selected using a random number generator in the auction software. Items that receive no bids are "struck" to the county and become county-held certificates. Bids are accepted at 0% (zero), but certificates awarded at this rate WILL NOT accrue interest. Bids at 0% will not be treated as Proxy bids even in sales using Proxy Bidding.
In a live auction, bidders lower their bids by quarter percent decrements until they are the only bidder left or until the interest goes below their acceptable minimum level, at which point they would drop out.
Proxy bidding is a form of competitive sale in which bidders enter the minimum interest rate that they are willing to accept for each certificate. The auction system acts as an electronic agent, submitting bids on behalf of each bidder until their minimum bid rate is met. Using the proxy system the electronic agent keeps lowering your bid by quarter percent decrements until you are either, the only bidder left, (in which case you get the certificate at a quarter percent lower than the previous bid) or until you reach the floor you have set. Note:
- Zero percent bids (0%) will not be treated as proxy bids. They will be awarded at zero.
- If you are the only bidder on a given certificate and your minimum rate is greater than zero percent, the electronic agent will submit a bid of 18 percent on your behalf.
- In the case of a tie at the winning bid rate, the system awards the certificate to one of the tied bidders through a random selection process using a random number generator.
- In no case will a bidder be awarded a certificate at a rate lower than their specified minimum acceptable rate.
When a tax certificate is redeemed and the interest earned on the face amount is less than 5%, a mandatory charge of 5% interest is due. The person redeeming the tax certificate pays the interest rate bid or the mandatory charge, whichever is greater.
Tax certificates are dated as of the first day of the tax certificate sale and expire after 7 years. Any tax certificate can be canceled or corrected if errors, omissions, or double assessments are made. If a tax certificate is canceled or corrected, the interest earned on the canceled or corrected amount is up to 8% per year.
Investors who are interested in participating in the Flagler County Tax Certificate Sale are advised to visit this website in May for upcoming sale information.
Tax certificates that are not purchased at the sale are struck to the county. These "county held certificates" carry an 18% interest rate and are offered to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information click here.