Real estate taxes become delinquent April 1st each year. A list of all real property with delinquent taxes is advertised once a week for three consecutive weeks in a local newspaper during the month of May after which a Tax Certificate Sale will be conducted on the internet.
A tax certificate represents a lien on real property and earns interest at a maximum rate of 18% per year. The cost to purchase a certificate is listed beside each parcel in the delinquent advertisement and includes gross tax, interest, advertising cost and the cost of the tax certificate sale.
On the advertised day and time no later than June 1st, the Tax Collector auctions and sells a tax certificate on each delinquent parcel. Since the taxes on some parcels will have been paid prior to sale, those paid parcels that appeared in the newspaper advertisement will be skipped. Bidding begins at 18% and the certificate is sold to the person bidding the LOWEST annual interest rate.
Tax certificates that are not bid on at the tax sale are “struck to the county” at an interest rate of 18%. These certificates can be purchased from the county for their current redemption amount. At the time of the sale, a certificate will not be sold against property that: a) is known to be included in a litigation or bankruptcy process b) is homesteaded with taxes due in the amount of $100.00 or less, or c) tax deferral application has been approved.
All certificates are sold on a first come, first served basis.
For a list of County-Held Tax Certificates go to : ftp://www.hernandopa-fl.us/TCData/BIDCERAUTO.TXT
Note that the property owner still has full use of and right to the property unless it is sold, foreclosed or a tax deed is issued. A tax certificate is strictly an investment for the certificate holder. After two years a certificate holder does have the right to bring the land to a public auction where a tax deed may be issued. The tax deed would be issued to the person bidding the highest at the auction - it is not automatically issued to the certificate holder. Please be advised that a tax deed is not the same as a warranty deed and may require additional steps and fees before being a clear title to the property.
To register to purchase tax certificates visit https://hernandofl.realtaxlien.com/ and click "Register". The registration "wizard" will guide you through the registration process in just a few minutes.