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Tax Sale, Certificates, and Tax Deeds

Tax Certificate Sale

Each year the Duval County Tax Collector conducts a tax certificate sale. The annual tax certificate sale is a public sale of tax liens on delinquent real property taxes. All procedures of this tax sale are in accordance with Florida Statutes.

The tax certificate sales are held online at  To participate and purchase certificates in this sale you must register online and place a minimum deposit. Note, you are not bidding to purchase the property. A tax certificate is a lien on the property; It does not convey title to the land. Tax Certificates sold through this tax sale must be held two years before a tax deed application can be submitted. Bidding is based upon the amount of annual interest to be earned by the certificate buyer. Risks: If a bankruptcy proceeding is initiated before or after a certificate lien has been sold it is at the discretion of the United States Bankruptcy judge to determine the amount, if any, the certificate holder will receive. Corrections to the tax roll can result in decreases in assessed value, as can changes such as: fire, removal of a mobile home, or condemnation. As a tax certificate investor, you are responsible for researching the properties on which you purchase liens.

Certificates will be awarded to the bidder willing to accept the lowest rate of interest on the investment. If there are multiple bids for the same lowest rate, the winner will be selected through a random, computer-generated process. It is the bidders' responsibility to ensure they are bidding on the correct parcels. Once a certificate has been awarded, it will not be canceled due to an error, or change of mind, by the bidder. The bidder will be required to pay for all the certificates they have won within 48 hours after the close of the tax sale. Pursuant to Florida law if a bidder fails to pay the amount due all bids for that bidder will be cancelled and the bidder's deposit will be forfeited.

Online Tax Certificate Sale

The Duval County Tax Certificate Sale uses a direct bid auction format.  A direct bid auction takes the lowest interest rate entered and awards the certificate at that rate. The auction is not proxy style in which a certificate is awarded at 0.25% less than the next lowest bid. In Duval County, if bidder one and bidder two are both bidding on the same property and bidder one puts his lowest bid at 12% and bidder two puts his lowest bid at 0.25%, bidder two will win the certificate with a rate of 0.25%. That is a direct bid auction. Note that is a zero percent bid is entered the certificate will be awarded at a zero percent rate. In the case of a tie at the winning bid rate, the system determines the winner of the certificate using a random number generator. A bidder will never be awarded a certificate at a lower rate than his specified minimum acceptable rate. Certificates that do not receive any bids will be awarded to the City of Jacksonville at an annual interest rate of 18%. In addition, certificates valued at less than $250 with homestead exemption are awarded to the City of Jacksonville automatically and are not available to individual certificate holders.

Bidder Registration

The Duval County Tax Collector's Office is required by the Internal Revenue Service to obtain the tax identification number and a completed W-9 form at the time each buyer registers as a bidder. For individuals, the tax identification number (TIN) is the Social Security Number (SSN). The individual registering must be the actual "owner" of the SSN. (It cannot be a child's name with the parents SSN). For most "non-individuals" (i.e., trust, estates, partnerships, and similar entities), the tax identification number (TIN) is the Employer Identification Number (EIN) for the organization.

The TIN you use on the Bidder Information form must match the name shown on your social security card or Employer Identification form. Annually a 1099-INT (Interest Income) Tax Statement is mailed to the registered bidder who received redemption proceeds during that calendar year. This information is also transmitted to the Internal Revenue Service as required by law.  


Bidders must place funds on deposit in order to participate in the tax sale. A deposit in the amount of 10% of the total value of certificates you wish to purchase must be received by the dates stated on the tax sale website. For example, if you wish to purchase $150,000 worth of tax certificates, you must place $15,000 on deposit. Instructions on how to send funds are on the tax sale website.  If you do not have the funds on deposit you will not be awarded any tax certificates, even if you have bid on them. If you place $10,000 on deposit you may be awarded up to $100,000 worth of certificates. If you win $100,000 in certificates any bids you placed on other certificates will not be considered. Deposits must be received 5 business days prior to the tax sale.


Payment for Certificates Awarded at Sale

Each bidder is required to pay in full less the deposit for all awarded certificates within 48 hours of the close of the auction. The exact date and time will be available on the tax sale website. If more money has been collected than certificates awarded, the excess funds will be refunded within 14 business days after the close of the sale. ALL SALES ARE FINAL. Pursuant to Chapter 197.432(6), Florida Statutes, if a person to whom a tax certificate(s) have been sold fails to pay the amount due the tax collector will cancel all bids and the bidder's deposit will be forfeited.

Contacting the Property Owner

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 two years have elapsed since April 1 of the year of issuance of the tax certificate.

Any holder of a tax certificate who, prior to the date two 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.

County-held Certificates Available for Purchase

County-held certificates are available for purchase at  

As a tax certificate investor, you are responsible for researching the properties on which you purchase liens.  All purchases of County-held certificates are final and will not be canceled or refunded. Florida Statute Chapter 197.432 provides additional information on holding tax certificates. Florida Statute Chapter 197.502 contains information if the tax certificates are not redeemed in a timely manner.

Tax Deeds

A bidder must hold the tax lien certificate for a minimum of two (2) years from April 1 of the certificate issue year to apply for Tax Deed to the property. The sale of a tax deed by the Duval County Clerk of Court will result in the issuance of a tax deed from the property owner to the tax deed applicant or the highest bidder for the deed. For an investor to obtain a Tax Deed to the property the investor must hold the tax lien certificate for a minimum of two (2) years from April 1 the year the certificate was first issued. As an example, a 2006 tax certificate (2005 tax year) purchased at the tax certificate sale, would have to be held until April 1, 2008, before the certificate holder could apply to bring the property to a tax deed sale.  Tax Deed applications are currently accepted online. To apply for tax deed the applicant must go to and:

  • Complete an application
  • Pay all outstanding taxes due on the account that are not held by the applicant
  • Pay an application fee and title search fees
Please direct any questions regarding Tax Deed Applications to
Tax Deed sale are conducted by the Duval County Clerk of Court.

Please note: A Tax Deed is not the same as a warranty deed. It is the certificate holder's responsibility to ensure the legal status of the property. Likewise if it is determined that the process of "quieting title" would need to be done, it is the certificate holder's responsibility to complete and pay all associated fees.

Redemption of a Tax Certificate

Should the tax certificate be redeemed, the investor will receive a refund for the purchase amount, plus the rate of interest bid at the time of the sale. Interest will accrue from the date the certificate was issued to the date it was redeemed. A minimum of 5% interest will be charged unless the certificate was bid a zero percent.

Expiration of Tax Liens

Chapter 197.482(1), Florida Statues states the following: "After the expiration of 7 years from the date of issuance, which is the date of the first day of the tax certificate sale as advertised under s. 197.432, if a tax deed has not been applied for, and no other administrative or legal proceeding has existed of record, the tax certificate is null and void, and shall be canceled. 

For more information regarding the tax sale process, tax certificates, or tax deeds please contact the Tax Department at (904) 255-5700, option 4 or correspondence may be mailed to:

Duval County Tax Collector
Attn: Tax Department
231 E Forsyth St Room 130
Jacksonville, FL 32202

For information regarding tax deed sales please contact the Duval County Clerk of Court by clicking here.
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