In Florida, unpaid property taxes can result in additional charges and the possibility of losing your home. Here’s an overview of how delinquent taxes work, what to do if you fail to pay on time, and what to do if you can’t pay your property tax bill.
When are Florida property taxes due?
Florida property taxes are due on March 31st.
There are earlier deadlines when you can pay sooner and receive a discount. In some counties, there is also an installment plan option. Missing the discount deadline or an installment payment doesn’t mean your property taxes are delinquent. You may lose your discount or installment plan eligibility, but your taxes aren’t late unless you don’t pay in full by March 31st.
If you pay in April or May, you will have to pay a late payment penalty in addition to the property taxes you owe.
On or around June 1st, the tax collector holds a tax certificate sale for any property taxes that remain unpaid. Tax certificates are property tax liens.
Once property taxes are delinquent for at least two years, the tax certificate holder can file a tax deed application.
Check with your local property appraiser and tax collector for information specific to your county.
How do tax certificates work?
When a tax certificate is sold, an investor pays the outstanding property taxes on the property. To remove the tax lien, the property owner must pay the taxes, interest, and administrative fees.
A tax certificate is a lien against the property, but it doesn’t entitle the certificate buyer to an ownership interest in the subject property.
From the investor’s perspective, a tax certificate is somewhat similar to investing in a bond.
From the property owner’s perspective, there isn’t much difference from owing taxes directly to the government. It’s just a way for local tax collectors to manage their cash flow.