The manner in which delinquent taxes are collected is prescribed by Florida Statutes and is briefly outlined below:
Citrus County real estate taxes are due each year November 1, payable through March 31 of the following year, with discounts allowed for early payments and a 3% penalty imposed beginning April 1. Items remaining unpaid by mid-April are advertised in the local newspaper for four consecutive weeks in May in an effort to notify the property owners of outstanding tax liability.
According to Florida Statutes, on or before June 1, a Tax Certificate Auction must be held. This is a public auction held by the Tax Collector where a tax certificate is sold to the party who will pay the property owners tax and accept the lowest interest rate when redemption is made. A certificate is an interest-bearing lien and the interest rate varies from 0% to 18%. Certificates are sold on any items remaining unpaid at the time of the auction. When a certificate is sold, the property owner can redeem the certificate by payment of the taxes plus penalty, fees and interest. If the certificate is not redeemed within a two-year time period, the certificate holder may contact the Tax Collector's office to begin proceedings for a tax deed auction. For more information on Tax Certificate sales, please visit http://www.citrustc.us.
The Tax Collector will deliver the tax deed application to the Clerk of the Circuit Court to begin the process for a tax deed auction. The property is advertised in the local newspaper for four consecutive weeks prior to the tax deed auction.
The high bidder shall post with the Clerk a non-refundable cash deposit of $200, or 5% of the final bid, whichever is greater, at the time of the sale, to be applied to the sale price at the time of full payment.
If the certificate holder is not the high bidder, they are reimbursed their investment which is the opening bid. If there is no bid on the property or the certificate holder is the high bidder, all additional recording fees and documentary stamp tax must be paid before a tax deed will be recorded.
A tax deed is issued from the County to the highest bidder, for non-payment of real estate taxes by the property owner who forfeits all rights to the property by this default.
Tax certificates owned by the County, not sold at the auction, are placed on the List of Lands Available for Taxes. Any property placed on the List of Lands Available for Taxes is available for purchase 90 days after the auction date.
Please refer to the forms area for additional information on the Tax Deed process.