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Past News Briefs


PROPERTY TAX CERTIFICATE SALE NEARS


PROPERTY TAX CERTIFICATE SALE NEARS


Beginning May 16th, bidders will be able to go online and view delinquent tax certificates for the first time.

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/May 9, 2005

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office is pleased to announce that the 2005 Tax Certificate Sale (for 2004 delinquent property taxes) will be held on the Internet for the first time this year.

Beginning this week and continuing for the next two weeks, The Ledger is running a special insert which lists all real properties with delinquent taxes. This initiates the bidding process, which will formally open on May 16th and close with the awarding of bids beginning May 31st 2005.

The list, which in years past has totaled as much as $14 million in delinquent taxes, represents over 23,000 parcels this year alone. The intent is to streamline a process that typically has lasted as long as eight to ten long days and involved a relatively small group of investors.

This year, however, the field of participants will be limited only by those who want to sign up online and file a deposit with the tax office in order to place bids. With a large pool of participants, as evidenced by five other Florida counties who held online tax certificate sales last year, the benefits can be worthwhile. According to Joe Tedder, Polk County Tax Collector, "With an online auction, we expect to see lower interest rates for delinquent property owners, a larger pool of new investors, higher percentage of certificates sold, and fewer resources tied up by our offices." Tedder went on to say, "This online sale in turn benefits all the Polk County taxing authorities and ultimately the taxpayers themselves."

Real estate taxes (ad Valorum taxes) are due November 1st each year. Taxpayers may opt to pay early if they chose. At the bottom of the annual property tax bill are monthly amounts which provide a discount for whatever month the payment is made.

Property taxes that are not paid before April 1st are delinquent.

Delinquent property taxes that are not paid by May 1st are placed on a list of properties in which tax certificates which will be auctioned. On May 16th, the advertised list will be posted on the web and bids may be entered.

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 includes the gross tax, interest, advertising cost and the cost of the Tax Certificate sale.

The bidding begins at 18% and the certificate is sold to the person bidding the LOWEST annual interest rate. In order to clear the property of the tax lien, the property owner must pay the amount of the tax certificate plus interest calculated from the month after the certificate sale to the month of payment or no less than 5%. All payments are made to the Tax Collector.

The life of a tax certificate is seven years from the date of issuance. Neither Tax Certificates nor interest rates are guaranteed.

Tax certificates listings will be published three times this month: May 16th, May 19th and May 26th. You may obtain copies at the Polk County Tax Collector's main offices on 430 E. Main Street in Bartow, as well as the Lakeland and Haines City branch offices. Their locations, as well as additional information about the Tax Certificate auction may be found on the Tax Collector's website, www.PolkTaxes.com.

Polk Government Television (PGTV) has also produced a program that is airing during the month of May, which gives an overview of the sale. Joe G. Tedder, CFC, Polk County Tax Collector hosts the thirty minute program with guest hosts Laura J. Hawley, Financial Planner and WFLK Talk Radio host and Tom Roe Oldt, Investment Advisor and Ledger Columnist. To see a listing of show times, go to www.PolkTaxes.com.

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