What happens when landowners don’t pay their property taxes?
I’m Ray Seaman with eXp Realty, Your Florida Land Agent.
Property taxes pay for most local government services – schools, roads, police, fire, and more. So when someone doesn’t pay their property taxes, Florida cities and counties don’t just hope for the best.
Property taxes become due and notices go out to owners starting November 1st in Florida. If they’re not paid by the following April 1st, those property taxes become delinquent. County tax collector offices then auction off what are called tax lien certificates. The face value of these certificates are the taxes and fees owed to the government. Investors can get up to 18% interest on these certificates, and the government gets the money that was owed to them.
If a property owner eventually pays their taxes, they’ll have to pay the face value and the added interest back to the tax lien certificate owner. If property taxes remain unpaid, after two years a tax lien owner can ask the county clerk to schedule a tax deed auction. At the tax deed auction, buyers bid to take the deed – and ownership – of the property. The bid amount starts at the amount owed to the tax lien owner.
The bottom line is – if you’re a property owner you need to pay your property taxes every November. Otherwise, you risk having to pay interest on what you owe, and eventually losing the property altogether.
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