Section 197.432, Florida Statutes 2009
197.432 Sale of tax certificates for unpaid taxes.--
(1) On the day and approximately at the time designated in the notice of the sale, the tax collector shall commence the sale of tax certificates on those lands on which taxes have not been paid, and he or she shall continue the sale from day to day until each certificate is sold to pay the taxes, interest, costs, and charges on the parcel described in the certificate. In case there are no bidders, the certificate shall be issued to the county. The tax collector shall offer all certificates on the lands as they are assessed.
(2) A lien created through the sale of a tax certificate may not be enforced in any manner except as prescribed in this chapter.
(3) Delinquent real property taxes of all governmental units due on a parcel of land in any one year shall be combined into one certificate.
(4) A tax certificate representing less than $100 in delinquent taxes on property that has been granted a homestead exemption for the year in which the delinquent taxes were assessed may not be sold at public auction or by electronic sale as provided in subsection (16) but shall be issued by the tax collector to the county at the maximum rate of interest allowed by this chapter. The provisions of s. 197.502(3) shall not be invoked as long as the homestead exemption is granted to the person who received the homestead exemption for the year in which the tax certificate was issued. However, when all such tax certificates and accrued interest thereon represent an amount of $100 or more, the provisions of s. 197.502(3) shall be invoked.
(5) Each certificate shall be struck off to the person who will pay the taxes, interest, costs, and charges and will demand the lowest rate of interest, not in excess of the maximum rate of interest allowed by this chapter. The tax collector shall accept bids in even increments and in fractional interest rate bids of one-quarter of 1 percent only. If there is no buyer, the certificate shall be issued to the county at the maximum rate of interest allowed by this chapter.
(6) The tax collector shall require immediate payment of a reasonable deposit from any person who wishes to bid for a tax certificate. A person who fails or refuses to pay any bid made by, or on behalf of, him or her is not entitled to bid or have any other bid accepted or enforced by the tax collector until a new deposit of 100 percent of the amount of estimated purchases has been paid to the tax collector. When tax certificates are ready for issuance, the tax collector shall notify each person to whom a certificate was struck off that the certificate is ready for issuance and payment must be made within 48 hours from the mailing of such notice or the deposit shall be forfeited and the bid canceled. In any event, payment shall be made before delivery of the certificate by the tax collector.
(7) The form of the certificate shall be as prescribed by the department. Upon the cancellation of any bid, the tax collector shall resell that certificate the following day or as soon thereafter as possible, provided the certificate is sold within 10 days after cancellation of such bid.
(8) The tax collector shall make a list of all the certificates sold for taxes, showing the date of the sale, the number of each certificate, the name of the owner as returned, a description of the land within the certificate, the name of the purchaser, the interest rate bid, and the amount for which sale was made. This list shall be known as the "list of tax certificates sold." The tax collector shall append to the list a certificate setting forth the fact that the sale was made in accordance with this chapter.
(9) A certificate may not be sold on, nor is any lien created in, property owned by any governmental unit the property of which has become subject to taxation due to lease of the property to a nongovernmental lessee. The delinquent taxes shall be enforced and collected in the manner provided in s. 196.199(8). However, the ad valorem real property taxes levied on a leasehold that is taxed as real property under s. 196.199(2)(b), and for which no rental payments are due under the agreement that created the leasehold or for which payments required under the original leasehold agreement have been waived or prohibited by law before January 1, 1993, must be paid by the lessee. If the taxes are unpaid, the delinquent taxes become a lien on the leasehold and may be collected and enforced under this chapter.
(10) Any tax certificates issued pursuant to this section after January 1, 1977, which are void due to an error of the property appraiser, the tax collector, any other county official, or any municipal official and which are subsequently canceled, or which are corrected, pursuant to this chapter or chapter 196 shall earn interest at the rate of 8 percent per year, simple interest, or the rate of interest bid at the tax certificate sale, whichever is less, calculated from the date the certificate was purchased until the date the refund is ordered. Refunds made on tax certificates that are corrected or void shall be processed in accordance with the procedure set forth in s. 197.182, except that the 4-year time period provided for in s. 197.182(1)(c) does not apply to or bar refunds resulting from correction or cancellation of certificates and release of tax deeds as authorized herein.
(11) When tax certificates are advertised for sale, the tax collector shall be entitled to a commission of 5 percent on the amount of the delinquent taxes and interest when actual sale is made. However, the tax collector shall not be entitled to any commission for the sale of certificates made to the county until the commission is paid upon the redemption or sale of the tax certificates. When a tax deed is issued to the county, the tax collector shall not receive his or her commission for the certificates until after the property is sold and conveyed by the county.
(12) All tax certificates issued to the county shall be held by the tax collector of the county where the lands covered by the certificates are located.
(13) Delinquent taxes on real property may be paid after the date of delinquency but prior to the sale of a tax certificate by paying all costs, advertising charges, and interest.
(14) The holder of a tax certificate may not directly, through an agent, or otherwise initiate contact with the owner of property upon which he or she holds a tax certificate to encourage or demand payment until 2 years have elapsed since April 1 of the year of issuance of the tax certificate.
(15) Any holder of a tax certificate who, prior to the date 2 years after April 1 of the year of issuance of the tax certificate, initiates, or whose agent initiates, contact with the property owner upon which he or she holds a certificate encouraging or demanding payment may be barred by the tax collector from bidding at a tax certificate sale. Unfair or deceptive contact by the holder of a tax certificate to a property owner to obtain payment is an unfair and deceptive trade practice, as referenced in s. 501.204(1), regardless of whether the tax certificate is redeemed. Such unfair or deceptive contact is actionable under ss. 501.2075-501.211. If the property owner later redeems the certificate in reliance on the deceptive or unfair practice, the unfair or deceptive contact is actionable under applicable laws prohibiting fraud.
(16) The county tax collector may conduct the sale of tax certificates for unpaid taxes pursuant to this section by electronic means. Such electronic sales shall comply with the procedures provided in this chapter. The tax collector shall provide access to such electronic sale by computer terminals open to the public at a designated location. A tax collector who chooses to conduct such electronic sales may receive electronic deposits and payments related to the tax certificate sale.
History.--s. 174, ch. 85-342; s. 9, ch. 90-343; s. 4, ch. 91-295; s. 1, ch. 93-108; s. 1018, ch. 95-147; s. 10, ch. 98-139; s. 3, ch. 98-167; s. 1, ch. 99-141; s. 1, ch. 2003-22.