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Tax Deeds Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions (Click to sort)
Where can I obtain information regarding the sale of Tax Certificates?

The Clerk's Office only handles Tax Deed sales. Tax Certificate sales are held by the Tax Collector's
Office
.


What is a Tax Deed Sale?

A tax deed sale is a public auction where real estate is sold to recover delinquent property taxes. This
is governed by Chapter 197, Florida Statutes, and Administrative Code 12D-13.060, Florida
Department of Revenue.


Who conducts the Tax Deed Sale?

A deputy clerk employed by the Clerk of the Circuit Court conducts the sale or public auction in
accordance with Section 197.502(5), Florida Statutes.


When and where are the Tax Deed Sales held?

Our Tax Deed Sales are normally scheduled on a monthly basis, always on Wednesday mornings,
beginning promptly at 10:00 a.m., in the Meeting Room located at 107 N. 6th Street, Palatka, Florida.
We recommend bidders arrive by 9:45 a.m. to pre-register.


Where can I obtain information about upcoming sales?

A list of parcels being sold is available on our website here.


Do I have to be present to bid at the sale?

Yes, this is a public auction.


Can the property owners stop the property from being sold for taxes?

The property owner or mortgage holder can redeem the property from the Tax Deed Sale by paying
the amounts owed to the Tax Collector and the Clerk of Courts. The total redemption is collected in
the Tax Collector's office. (Many of the properties advertised for the sale will be redeemed and will
not be auctioned.)


How is the amount of the opening bid determined?

If the property is not homestead property, the amount of the opening bid equals the total of unpaid
taxes and interest, the Tax Collector's administration fees, the Clerk of Courts' administration
fees and expenditure fees required by the Florida Statutes to bring the property to delinquent tax
sale. If the property is homestead property, half of the assessed value from the tax roll is added
to the above amounts for the total opening bid.


Where do I get the details about the properties for sale?

A Tax Deed is a deed from the County to the highest bidder, issued for non-payment of real estate
taxes by the property owner who forfeits all rights to the property by this default.


Note: ALL PROPERTIES ARE SOLD "BUYER BEWARE"


Legal description

  • Addresses of the property are not provided. The legal description of the property will
    assist in obtaining the physical address/area of location.
  • Subdivision plat maps are available in the Clerk's Office, Recording Division. These
    descriptions are identified by a Subdivision name, Block number and Lot number.
  • Metes and Bounds legal descriptions (section, township, range) maps are available
    in the Property Appraiser's office.

Improvements on Property/Vacant Property

  • Check the current tax roll. This will show whether an improvement is being taxed on
    the property or whether the property is being taxed as vacant land. The property
    record card, available in the Property Appraiser's office office may give further
    information as to the property.

If you wish to review the folder maintained on each of the tax deed applications, please contact the
tax deed clerk.


Reference information: Florida Statutes, Chapter 197.


What is required if I am the high bidder at the sale?

If you are the high bidder at the sale, you are required to post 5% of the bid or $200 non-refundable
deposit, whichever is greater, as required by Florida Statutes. This money is held until you, the high
bidder, return with the total amount required to complete the sale. The deposit will be applied when
the final balance is received to complete the sale.


Immediately after the auction, collection of the recording fees and documentary stamp fees is to
be made. Florida Statutes allow 24 hours to return with the necessary fees to finalize the sale.
However, the sale is not final until the total amount due has been collected and the deed recorded.
Prior to the recording of the new deed, the property is eligible for redemption by the owner.


Our office will also need to know how the name(s) should appear on the deed(s).


What happens if I do not pay the total amount within 24 hours?

If you do not return within the allotted 24 hours, the sale is cancelled and the property is re-
advertised for sale using the $200 deposit. You will not be allowed to bid again (per F.S. 197.542(2)).


Is the bid amount the full amount I will pay for the property?

No, the total amount necessary to complete the sale consists of the bid amount, plus recording
fees and documentary stamp tax fees
.


After the sale, if you are the high bidder, you will be asked to come to the Tax Deeds Division to
complete the sale (personal checks are accepted with proper identification).


As the high bidder, do I have a clear deed (own the property free and clear of liens)?

All properties sold at a Tax Deed Sale qualify under 'buyer beware'. The purchase of a Tax Deed
Sale does not warrant or guarantee clear and marketable title.


Governmental liens & judgments survive the issuance of the Tax Deed and are satisfied to the
fullest extent possible with any overbid monies from the sale. Liens of governmental units not
satisfied in full survive the issuance of the Tax Deed. A governmental lien is a lien or judgment
that was issued by any Federal, State, County or City agency. We suggest you consult an Attorney
should you have any questions concerning any particular lien or judgment.


If there are any surplus funds from the sale of the property, those funds would be used to satisfy
the lien(s) to the extent possible. Any remaining balance would become the responsibility of the
new buyer.


Should you have any questions concerning what liens & judgments survive the tax sale, consult
an Attorney as we cannot advise you. Most title companies require the property to go through a
quiet title lawsuit for the property to be able to have title insurance issued on property bought by
Tax Deed Sale. Quiet title suits to clear the title of properties are Civil Law suits and are not
handled by the Tax Deed clerk. Information on this procedure and costs would be available from
an Attorney that handles these lawsuits.


If I am the successful bidder at a Tax Deed Sale, when am I entitled to possession of the property?

Section 197.542, F.S. states: "Any person, firm, corporation, or county that is the grantee of any Tax
Deed under this law shall be entitled to the immediate possession of the lands described in the Deed.


If demand for possession is refused, the purchaser may apply to the Circuit Court for a Writ of
Assistance upon five days' notice directed to the person refusing to deliver possession. Upon service
of the responsive pleadings, if any, the matter shall proceed as in chancery cases. If the Court finds
for the applicant, an order shall be issued by the Court directing the Sheriff to put the grantee in
possession of the lands."


How long does it take to receive the tax deed?

You should have your Tax Deed within 7 to 10 days from the sale date.


Can I pay with a personal check?

No, the Clerk's office does not accept personal checks for the payment of a winning bid.


In summary, please remember:
  • This is a "buyer beware" process.
  • The sale begins promptly at 10:00 a.m.; you should arrive 15 minutes early to pre
    -register.
  • If you are the high bidder, a $200 deposit is required for each property purchased, at
    the time of sale.
  • The $200 deposit will be included in the final amount needed to complete the sale.
  • The files will NOT be available for review on the day of the sale.
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