Property Tax Certificate Sale Information
Unpaid real estate taxes become delinquent on April 1 of each year. A 3% mandatory interest charge is assessed at that time. In May, if the taxes remain unpaid, the tax collector advertises the delinquent property online and in a local newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks prior to the certificate sale. The advertising fee is also added to the tax amount.
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 4:30 p.m. on the business day immediately before the date of the certificate sale, a certificate will be issued and additional charges will accrue.
Online Tax Certificate Sale/Auction
The Escambia County Tax Collector holds an online Tax Certificate Sale/Auction. In an online tax certificate sale the bids are transmitted and received through the tax lien site, BidEscambia.com. Electronic bidding provides numerous benefits to tax certificate investors as well as the citizens of Escambia County. Internet auctions not only increase the speed and efficiency of the tax certificate sale, but ensure the prompt and accurate collection of delinquent tax revenue needed to fund vital county services. In addition, it is a convenient way to invest in tax certificates without leaving the comfort of your home or office.
For answers to frequently asked questions, go to Lienhub.com.
How the Tax Certificate 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 Escambia County at 18% annual interest. Tax certificates last for seven years, as long as no other administrative or legal proceedings exist.
NOTE: There are certain risks associated with the purchase of tax certificates. It is the sole responsibility of the bidder to research any tax lien certificates before bidding on them.
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, or cash. 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.