When the Volusia County 2021 tax certificate sale was finalized on Monday, June 14, the property tax tally received from the online auction was over $18.1 million.
Certificates were offered on 12,864 delinquent properties this year – a decrease from the previous two years. There were 15,140 certificates offered in 2020 and 14,192 in 2019.
“Even as the county recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, fewer homeowners failed to pay their taxes this year,” Volusia County tax collector Will Roberts said in a news release. “The high number of real estate transactions likely plays a role in this, as property taxes are often paid at closing. Federal stimulus checks received by many households may also have helped homeowners foot the tax bill.
Property taxes are paid in arrears and cover the period from January 1 to December 31. The sale of 2021 tax certificates covered taxes for the 2020 calendar year, which were due on March 31, 2021.
Of the tax certificates auctioned, 9,849 were sold to bidders. Some of the 7,060 bidders obtained more than one tax certificate. The average interest rate received on tax certificates sold was 3.67%.
The remaining 3,015 certificates did not receive an offer and were issued to Volusia County, in accordance with Florida law. The county earns 18% interest per year on tax certificates.
Auction participants bid on the interest rate they offer to charge the defaulting property tax owner. Tendering begins at the maximum rate of 18% imposed by the State and continues in increments of at least a quarter of a percent. The lowest interest rate bid wins.
A tax certificate represents a first rank tax lien on real estate. It does not convey title to the land. Tax certificates are investments and not a deed of ownership.
No later than June 1 of the same year, the taxes become overdue, the tax collector organizes a public sale of tax certificates for the plots on which the taxes have not been paid. The cost of purchasing a certificate is listed next to each package in the backorder listing. This cost includes gross tax, a 3% royalty, advertising costs and the cost of selling the tax certificate. This year’s auction raised more than $18.5 million in overdue taxes, fees and advertising costs.
Once a tax lien or certificate is registered on the property and the taxes remain unpaid after the sale of the tax lien for two years, the holder of the tax certificate can begin the process of selling the tax deed. The property could be sold to the highest bidder at an auction held by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
‘The sooner the owner pays the amount owed, the less interest they will have to pay to prevent the property from being subject to a tax deed sale,’ Mr Roberts added.
For more information, visit vctaxcollector.org or call (386) 736-5938.