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Past News Briefs


TAX CERTIFICATES STILL HOT IN POLK COUNTY


TAX CERTIFICATES STILL HOT IN POLK COUNTY


Tax Certificate Sale A Success

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ June 28, 2010

At the conclusion of the 2011 Tax Certificate Sale, Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder said, "Polk County continues to do well when it comes to investors betting their money on Polk County's unpaid property taxes. Because of that the interest rates our late taxpayers pay are less burdensome."

Tedder further stated, "We are also happy to report at the conclusion of the Tax Certificate Sale we have collected over 99.28% of the tax roll."

This year the number of parcels unpaid totaled 28,717, down from a high of 30,685 set back in 2008. Of these, all but 7,156 were sold in this year's tax certificate sale. That leaves $1,023,966 available for bidders to purchase in county held certificates beginning on July 1. The competition generated in Polk County's certificates drove down the average interest rates from 5.62% last year to 5.17% this year. "In the long run the lower interest rates are good because they help the taxpayer as long as it is attractive enough to keep investors in the game" says Tedder.

As in years past, the tax certificate sale was conducted online. Polk County is one of the early innovators of this approach, using internet sales as far back as 2005. Today, over 50 counties are using online software companies to run their tax certificate sales each year. Tax Certificates, tax deed sales, along with a plethora of other online services, have emerged since then, insuring secure and performance-based communication software to drive greater efficiencies and streamline operations in local government.

Online Auctioneers

Currently, in Polk County, Tax Collector Joe Tedder uses Realauction out of Plantation, Florida to facilitate the online bidding process for Tedder's annual tax certificate sale.

Bidders to the process can be anyone with a penchant for gambling and working the spread between the cost of money and the interest rate charged with a winning bid. Bidders can participate from essentially anywhere they have internet access. Bidders can be anyone from savvy individual investors to large fiduciary conglomerates. Advance online registration requiring a deposit based on total estimated bidding volume is all that limits someone from getting into the process.

One such investor, Chas P. Smith, local CPA and investment advisor in Lakeland, who has participated in a number of counties' internet sales. "We represent a group of investors who have found tax certificates are a bonafide investment instrument for the educated investor.

The remaining unsold "county certificates" are now available for online viewing with bids to purchase remaining certificates on a first-come, first-serve basis, beginning on July 1 and continuing throughout the year. The interest rate for all of the county-held certificates will be 18% based on Florida Statute 197.472.

For more information on registration and bidding, please go to www.polktaxes.com.

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Background

Tax Collectors in the State of Florida are statutorily-charged with the responsibility of preparing and mailing tax notices; and collecting and distributing ad valorem and non-ad-valorem property taxes and fees on behalf of local taxing and levying authorities. In Polk County, there are over thirty-five municipalities and taxing authorities represented on the property tax bill.

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office currently mails out over 350,000 tax bills and collects funds on behalf of its taxing authorities, including the county commission, school board and Polk's municipalities. In turn, as taxpayers make their tax payments, the Tax Collector's Office distributes funds to each entity on a monthly basis. Unpaid delinquent taxes are bid on by investors during the annual tax certificate sale auction, at which these taxes are paid into the Tax Collector's Office. Next, the winning bidder receives a certificate for the amount owed, including interest, all of which must be paid by the delinquent property owner. Owners have two years to pay before they are subject to losing their property. In this way, local governments receive the maximum tax roll collections possible while outside investors shoulder the risk.



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