Visit LienHub to download tax certificate information. Information is available mid-May each year.
1. What is a tax certificate?
On or before June 1 of the same year the taxes become delinquent, the tax collector holds a public sale of tax certificates for parcels on which taxes have not been paid. The cost to purchase a certificate is listed beside each parcel in the delinquent advertisement. This cost includes gross tax, 3% fee, advertising cost, and the cost of the tax certificate sale. A tax certificate represents a first priority tax lien on real property. It does not convey title to the land.
Tax certificates are investments and not a deed to the property.
Purchasing a tax certificate does not entitle the certificate buyer to enter the property or contact or harass the owner in any manner. Effective October 1, 1998, per chapter 98-167, Section. 3, Laws of Florida and F.S. Statute 197.432(14), certificate holders are prohibited from contacting property owners to encourage or demand payment until two years after April 1 of the year of issuance of the tax certificate. A certificate holder can be barred from bidding at our tax certificate sale for initiating such contact.
2. When do real estate taxes become delinquent?
Real estate taxes become delinquent April 1 each year. Example: 2020 taxes became delinquent April 1, 2021. At that time, 3% is added to the gross amount.
3. How are delinquent taxes advertised?
A list of all real property with delinquent taxes is advertised, either in print or electronically, in a local newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks immediately preceding the tax certificate sale. The advertisement begins with property located in the north end of the county, in parcel ID order, to the south end of the county. The advertisement also specifies the place, date, and time of the tax certificate sale. Due to payments received after the list is first prepared for publication, the newspaper will list more items than will be sold. The amount advertised is the amount due for purchase of each certificate.
4. What is a tax certificate sale?
The Tax Certificate Sale is conducted pursuant to Florida Statutes and DOR Rules & Regulations. In Volusia County, tax certificate sales are currently held over the internet with our tax sale vendor – LienHub. The tax certificate sale is not a sale of land. It is the sale of a lien against the property. Purchasing a tax certificate does not entitle the certificate buyer to enter the property or contact or harass the owner in any manner. Tax certificate Sale information may vary from sale to sale and interested parties are encouraged to review current tax sale information by visiting LienHub.
5. What interest rates are applicable?
The maximum interest the law allows an individual to collect on a tax certificate is 18% per annum, simple interest. The minimum interest received by the purchaser is 5% unless bid at zero [Florida Statutes 197.472(2)]. On certificates issued at zero percent, interest will not be paid on the face amount. Interest starts accruing the month after the certificate issue date.
6. What if there are no bidders for a tax certificate?
If there are no bidders for a certificate, it is issued to the County at 18% interest. Currently, county-held tax certificates are available for purchase in our DeLand office or on LienHub. Procedures may vary from sale to sale and interested parties are encouraged to review our website for current tax sale information.
7. How are tax certificates redeemed?
To clear the property of the tax certificate lien, the property owner must pay the amount of the tax certificate plus the rate of interest at which the certificate was sold, calculated from the month of the sale to the month of redemption. When a tax certificate is redeemed, on or after June 1, a $6.25 redemption fee is also charged. After redemption, the certificate holder receives the amount invested plus interest. Certificates bid at 0% interest do not accrue interest. The payor’s remittance releases the tax lien, and the certificate holder has no further claim on the property. Interest earned is taxable and must be reported to the IRS. Each January, an IRS 1099-INT form is sent to each certificate holder for interest earnings in the previous year ( Chapter 197.472 Florida Statutes).
8. What happens if the certificate is not redeemed?
If the certificate is not redeemed within two years from the date of delinquency in the year the certificate was issued, the certificate holder may apply for a tax deed and bring the land to sale at public auction. For example: The 2020 taxes became delinquent on April 1, 2021. Therefore, a tax deed application may be made after April 1, 2023. A certificate holder who wishes to apply for a tax deed must redeem all other certificates and pay other fees as mandated by state law. Certificate holders must make tax deed applications through our tax deed vendor – LienHub.
9. Can tax certificates be cancelled?
In the event of an error in a tax certificate, it can be cancelled or corrected by the authority of the Florida Department of Revenue.
Effective October 1, 1998, per Chapter 98-167, Section 3, Laws of Florida and F.S. Statute 197.432(11) and applicable to tax certificates sold after that date. Refunds on void or corrected tax certificates will earn interest at the rate of 8% or the rate of interest bid at the tax certificate sale, whichever is less.
10. Can tax certificates be sold or transferred?
Tax certificates may be sold and/or assigned to another party. Currently these may be transferred in our DeLand office. There is a $2.25 transfer fee for recording each assignment in the official records. In addition, the new owner will need to be registered with our tax certificate vendor. When an assigned certificate is eventually redeemed, the total accumulated interest from the original date of issuance is reported to the IRS under the present certificate holder’s social security/Federal tax ID number, regardless of the date of transfer.
11. What is the life of a tax certificate?
The life of a tax certificate is 7 years from the date of issuance, which is the first day of the sale as advertised. If the certificate holder does not apply for a tax deed within the 7 years, the tax certificate is not redeemed, and no other administrative or legal proceeding has existed, the certificate is null and void and the certificate holder is out their initial investment (Florida Statute 197.482). Please note that if the last day falls on a weekend it will become void on the last working day.
12. Is this a risk-free investment?
Certificate buyers need to be aware that there are inherent risks involved with buying tax certificates, and those risks are borne solely by the certificate holder. As with any investment, there is an element of risk. The following are examples of possible risks to consider:
13. How can I apply for a tax deed?
Only one certificate is necessary to bring property to sale for a tax deed. If a certificate is not redeemed within two years from the date the taxes became delinquent, the certificate holder may apply for a tax deed and bring the land to sale at a public auction. For example: 2020 taxes are delinquent April 1, 2021. Therefore, a tax deed application may be made after April 1, 2023. Certificate holders who apply for a tax deed must pay the tax collector the amounts required for redemption of all other outstanding certificates, plus interest; any omitted taxes, plus interest; any delinquent taxes, plus interest; current taxes, if due; and other fees as mandated by state law (including an application fee and a title search fee). The Clerk of Circuit Court’s Office will notify the applicant of additional fees due for each application. Tax deeds are applied for online through LienHub. For more information on tax certificates, please call or email the tax collector office.
14. What is a tax deed sale?
A tax deed sale is the sale of property at public auction for back taxes and fees associated with bringing the property to sale. Florida Statutes provides that the Clerk of the Circuit Court is responsible for the administration of tax deed sales. For more information regarding tax deed sales, please contact the Clerk of Circuit Court or review the information on the clerk's website at https://www.clerk.org.
15. Tax certificate forms