Real Estate Tax

Tax Deed Overview for Tax Certificate Holders/Investors

A Tax Deed application is the action, initiated by a tax certificate holder. The Tax Deed Application is a legal document that begins the process wherein the Clerk of the Circuit Court sells the property to the highest bidder at public auction. This process is known as a Tax Deed Foreclosure.

Property owners have 2 years from the date taxes become delinquent before they risk loss of the property. As stated in Florida Statute 197.502, after the 2 year period has elapsed and taxes remain unpaid, the certificate holder may file a Tax Deed Application with the Tax Collector’s office.

The statute of limitation on tax certificates is seven (7) years. Therefore, should the taxes remain unpaid and the tax certificate holder does not elect to make application for tax deed within the seven year period, their investment is lost.

As part of the Tax Deed process, the Clerk of the Circuit Court sets the sale date and notifies the applicant of the additional costs associated with the sale, which the applicant must pay. These additional costs include the advertising cost, mailing cost and the Sheriff’s fees. Please note, the tax deed foreclosure process can take months to complete due to statutory requirements governing tax deed sales. Generally, tax deed sales are held on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m.. at the Hillsborough County Clerk of Circuit Court’s Tax Deed website located at https://hillsborough.realtaxdeed.com/     You are encouraged to visit the online sale site prior to bidding on a property to become familiar with the requirements.  Click here to learn more about the Tax Deed Sale Process.

For additional information, you can visit the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s website, Tax Deed Sales and Lands Available Information.

This action forces the owner to pay the back taxes or run the risk of having the property sold at a public auction to the highest bidder.Doug Belden

Tax Deed Application Process

The holder of a tax certificate may apply for a tax deed after 2 years have elapsed from the date of delinquency. Prior to applying for tax deed foreclosure, it may be advisable to check for any existing liens on the property. Florida Statute 197.522 , provides that unsatisfied Governmental Liens shall survive the issuance of a tax deed.

The statute of limitation is seven (7) years on all tax certificates.

To apply for a tax deed, the certificate holder must redeem (pay off) all other outstanding tax certificates, pay any other outstanding taxes and fees on the property, and pay for application fees and a title search fee. Fee amounts vary by county. The total amount paid for the tax deed application then accrues interest at 18% per year until the property owner redeems the tax deed or it goes to sale.

How to apply for Tax Deeds:

  1. Register for a DeedExpress Account.  If you already have an account for purchasing county-held certificates via LienExpress, you may log in to DeedExpress with the same account information.
  2. Submit your certificate bidder number and corresponding FEIN information to retrieve a list of certificates held by that bidder number in each county. You may add any number of additional bidder numbers to your account.
  3. Review your list of certificates and select those to submit for deed application by adding them to the DeedExpress “shopping cart”.
  4. Submit payment for the deed applications.

At a later date, the Clerk of the Circuit Court will advise the applicant of the sale date and additional costs, which the applicant must pay. These costs include the advertising cost, mailing costs, and the Sheriff’s fees. The tax deed foreclosure process can take months to complete due to statutory requirements governing tax deed sales  The property will be sold to the highest bidder at a online public sale at the County Clerk of Circuit Court’s Tax Deed website located at  https://hillsborough.realtaxdeed.com/.

If a property does not sell, the tax certificate holder is required to take deed to the property.  If the property is not saleable, the certificate holder loses the entire tax certificate investment. Buyer Beware.