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Past News Briefs


MAY 30th PAYMENT DEADLINE


MAY 30th PAYMENT DEADLINE


LAST CHANCE TO PAY PROPERTY TAXES BEFORE TAX SALE

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ May 4, 2007

Polk County Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder, CFC, has announced that May 30 is the deadline for payment of delinquent real estate taxes. On or before June 1, Tedder and other tax collectors around the State will be hosting internet tax certificate sales and driving down the cost of collection for taxpayers while increasing the percentage of tax roll dollars for local governments.

Online auctions, which were cutting-edge innovation when they were introduced just four years ago in Florida, have become the standard for excellence in delinquent real estate tax collection today. The benefits of this new process are becoming clear as more and more tax collectors' offices utilize online technologies. Sales are conducted in a shorter period of time, money is distributed more quickly and tax collectors and their staffs are free from the burden of conducting live sales, allowing them to continue important daily tasks in their offices. In addition, internet tax sales have been found to yield a higher percentage of certificates sold, typically at a lower interest rate. And, as with other years, the field of participants is limited only by those who want to sign up online and file a deposit with the tax collectors' office in order to place bids.

"We consistently attract more bidders with the online sale and sell more certificates than we ever did before we went online with this process," commented Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County. "Most importantly, our staff is able to continue business as usual during the sale, providing consistent year-around customer service as well as the extensive benefits of the online process."

Many tax collectors now post their auction information on their websites or other dedicated websites developed in conjunction with the internet auctioneers who provide their services to participating counties. Bidders can register early, research properties and submit bids from the comfort of their office or home; bidders throughout the country often participate. Regardless of whether the county is urban or one with more rural properties, the use of technology to host the auction makes the process more efficient for tax collectors, and is likely to reduce the cost to the distressed taxpayer.

Tax certificate listings will be published three times this month; May 14, 21, and 28. This initiates the bidding process, which will formally open online on May 10 and run until May 31, when the sale begins. On this date, the process will culminate as winning bids are awarded and batches close out. All bidding will be complete by June 1 at 5 p.m.

Once again this year, the Polk County Tax Collector's Office will be Wednesday, May 16 at the Bob Crawford Building in Bartow. Registration, location and times can be found at www.polktaxes.com. In addition, an online demonstration model will be up and running by May 10, allowing new-comers the ability to 'test-bid' prior to the actual sale.

This year the list of advertised properties totals $36,134,976 in delinquent taxes as compared to $24,547,778 last year. This represents 29,323 parcels for this year as compared to 27,096 last year. "The actual number of parcels offered in the auction will be less," explains Rick Rhodes, Chief Deputy of Taxes and IT, "as the sale approaches and owners hurry to clear up unpaid taxes."

On May 10, an advertised list will be posted on the web and bids may start being entered. Last year, 17,892 parcels were offered, with 15,454 bids awarded through the online bidding process at a value of $13,910,000, representing 99.0% of value sold, up from 96.7% in 2005. The intent of an online auction is to streamline a process that typically has lasted as long as eight to ten days and involved a relatively small group of investors.

Real estate taxes (Ad Valorem taxes) are due from November 1 through March 31 and become delinquent April 1 of each year. Taxes which are delinquent are placed on an advertised list of properties, which if not payment is not received by 5:00 p.m. on May 30, will be offered up for sale.

A tax certificate represents a lien on real property and may earn interest at a maximum rate of up to 18% per year. The cost to buy a certificate includes the gross tax, interest, advertising cost and the incremental 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. For more information, visit www.polktaxes.com.

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