Tax Certificate Information

About Tax Certificates

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 three 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, and 5% Tax Collector's commission and advertising costs.

Bidding on the certificates starts at 18% interest and is bid down until the certificate is sold. Interest is paid at the rate of the winning bid.

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 Highlands County Tax Certificate Sale are advised to visit this website beginning May 6, 2024 for the 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.

Visit Tax Certificate Sale Website

Additional Information and Forms

Certificate Transfer Form