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tax certificates

If taxes remain unpaid up to June, the Tax Collector, by law, must hold an auction to pay off the taxes. The successful bidder is issued a tax certificate, which is a first lien against the property. Holding a tax certificate does not entitle the purchaser to enter the property nor does it mean they own the property.

After two years have passed since the date of delinquency, the certificate holder can apply to force a public auction of the property, which changes its ownership and is referred to as a Tax Deed Sale.

There are risks involved when purchasing tax certificates. The Tax Collector assumes no liability and does not guarantee the value, nor the condition of the property on which the certificate is issued.

The sale is operated on a competitive bid basis with interest bids beginning at 18% and progressing downward in 0.25% increments. The tax certificate is issued to the bidder that will accept the lowest rate of interest.

Participate in the Annual Tax Certificate Auction

Tax Certificate
Property Taxes

County Held Certificates

Certificates that are not sold at the tax certificate sale are held by the county. They may be purchased after the tax certificate sale prior to redemption or execution of a tax deed.

As with the certificates sold through the tax certificate sale, purchasing a county held certificate is not the purchase of the property, but a purchase of the lien for the delinquent taxes and associated costs with the certificate.

The cost to purchase a county held certificate is the face value of the certificate, accrued interest, and a $6.25 processing fee.

Purchase or Research County Held Certificates

Certificate Transfers

Those seeking to transfer the tax certificates they hold, are required to complete and submit an Endorsement form to the Tax Collector’s Office and include a check, cashiers’ check, or money order in the amount of $2.25 per certificate to be transferred.

Transfer Certificate to Another Bidder

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Certificate Redemption

To pay taxes on a property with a tax certificate, the certificate must be redeemed in certified U.S. funds drawn on a U.S. bank:

  • Cash
  • Certified check
  • Cashier’s check
  • Money order

Redeeming the certificate will cancel the lien placed when the certificate was sold.

The cost to redeem the certificate within 60 days of the date of delinquency is the face value of the certificate, plus a $6.25 fee.

From the 61st day on, the cost to redeem will include interest and fees.

Certificates with a 0% bid interest rate can be redeemed by paying the face value of the certificate plus a $6.25 fee.

Certificate Cancellations or Reduction

A certificate could be cancelled or reduced for various reasons such as to correct errors, omission, double assessments or when ordered by a court.

Tax Deed Application

The holder of an unredeemed certificate may apply for a tax deed after two years have elapsed since April 1 of the year of issuance and before the expiration of seven years from the date of issuance.

The tax deed applicant must submit a signed application, pay the Tax Collector the costs and fees required for making application, and the amounts required for redemption or purchase of all other outstanding certificates covering the land. This must be done using certified U.S. funds drawn on a U.S. bank:

  • Cash
  • Certified check
  • Cashier’s check
  • Money order

A tax deed application is not considered complete until all application costs and fees, including redemption fees, have been paid.

Upon receipt of a completed tax deed application, the Tax Collector will forward an  Ownership and Encumbrance report to the Lee County Clerk of Circuit Court who will administer the sale of the property.

The tax deed applicant is not guaranteed title to the property.

The Clerk of Circuit Court conducts tax deed auctions online. Information on upcoming sales and how to participate in Tax Deed Auctions may be found by visiting www.lee.realtaxdeed.com.

Property Tax

County Held Certificates

Purchase or research county held certificates

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Tax Certificate Sale

Participate in the annual tax certificate auction

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