Real Estate Taxes
Real estate taxes become delinquent on April 1st each year. Certified funds (cash, cashier's check, money order) are required for any unpaid tax year with a certificate or tax deed application. The amount due for delinquent tax is determined by the date payment is received. Please note: if you intend to redeem a tax deed application in person, visit 320 West Main Street, Tavares office location.
Florida Statutes require the Tax Collector to advertise the delinquent parcels in a local newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks. The advertised list of unpaid taxes is published in a local newspaper at the beginning of May, and can also be found online at lienhub.com/county/lake. Advertising and collection fees are added to the delinquent taxpayer's bill.
Beginning on or before June 1st, the Tax Collector is required by law to hold a Tax Certificate Sale. The certificates represent liens on all unpaid real estate properties. The sale allows citizens to buy certificates by paying off the tax debt that is owed. The sale is conducted in reverse auction style with participants bidding downward in ¼% increments starting at 18%. The certificate is awarded to the lowest bidder.
A tax certificate, when purchased, becomes an enforceable first lien against the real estate. The certificate holder is actually paying the taxes for a property owner in exchange for a competitive bid rate of return on his/her investment. In order to remove the lien, the property owner must pay the Tax Collector all delinquent taxes plus accrued interest, penalties, and advertising fees. The Tax Collector then notifies the certificate holder of any certificates redeemed, and a refund check is issued to the certificate holder.
A tax certificate is valid for seven years from the date of issuance. The holder may apply for a tax deed at any time after two years have elapsed since April 1st of the year of issuance of the tax certificate and before the cancellation of the certificate. If the property owner fails to pay the tax debt, the property tax deed is sold at a public auction.
Tangible Personal Property Tax
Tangible Personal Property Taxes become delinquent April 1st of each year at which time a 1.5% fee per month is added to the bill. Within 45 days after the tangible personal property taxes become delinquent, the Tax Collector is required by law to advertise a list of delinquent taxpayers one time in a local newspaper. Advertising costs are added to the delinquent bill.
Pursuant to Florida Statutes, Tax Warrants are issued prior to April 30th of the next year on all unpaid tangible personal property taxes. Within 30 days after the warrants are prepared, the Tax Collector applies to the Circuit Court for an order directing levy and seizure of the property for the amount of unpaid taxes and costs.
Any changes to the tax roll (name, address, location, assessed value) must be processed through the Property Appraiser’s Office, (352) 253-2150.