Frequently Asked Property Tax Questions

General Questions

When are tax bills mailed?

Tax notices are mailed on the last business day of October every year. Taxes can be paid from Nov. 1 through March 31.They become delinquent on April 1.

Why aren’t all property owners listed on the bill?

Up to two property owners are printed on the tax bill. Current ownership can be verified on the Property Appraiser’s website.

My mortgage company pays my taxes. Why did I receive a bill?

If you received the actual tax bill without an escrow company code in the escrow box on your bill, then the mortgage company/escrow agent did not request the bill for payment. We strongly urge you to check with your mortgage company/escrow agent to ensure they received a copy of the tax bill and that they will be paying the bill. You can send a copy of your tax bill to the mortgage company/escrow agent, or the agent can print a duplicate bill from our website.

What does “Prior Year Taxes Due” mean?

This means there are delinquent taxes on the property. Please note: Delinquent taxes continue to accrue interest each month until paid.

I have declared bankruptcy. Am I responsible for my property taxes?

Consult your bankruptcy attorney for advice on your particular situation. In many cases, as long as you still own the property and do not surrender it to the trustee or the court, you remain responsible for the taxes. Click here for answers to frequently asked bankruptcy questions.

Delinquent Taxes

How can I pay my delinquent taxes?

Cash, cashier’s check, money order, credit card or wire transfer made payable to Pinellas County Tax Collector. Personal checks are not accepted. For instructions on wire transfers, email deedsupport@taxcollect.com.

Can I make payment arrangements?

Florida law prohibits partial payments of delinquent real estate taxes. However, future year’s current taxes may be prepaid by applying for installment payments. Partial payments may be made for current taxes as follows: Minimum payment amount is $100, and each payment must include a $10 processing fee allowed by Florida statute. There is no discount, and final payment must be made by March 31 to avoid delinquency. No partial payments can be made after March 31 each year.

Do you honor the postmark for delinquent taxes?

No. The law mandates that delinquent real estate tax payments must be received in our office by the last working day of the month for which interest is being paid (Florida Department of Revenue Property Tax Rule 12D-13.002).

Installment Payment Plan

What are the qualifications for the installment payment plan?

Florida Law requires that your estimated taxes be more than $100 per tax notice to participate in the installment payment plan. If your estimated taxes for the tax year in which you are applying are $100 or less, you do not qualify for the plan.

How do I get on the installment payment plan?

The installment payment plan application period is closed for 2016 property taxes. Installment payment plan applications for 2017 property taxes will be accepted starting November 1, 2016, and are due by April 30, 2017. Click here for more information.

Once I’m on the installment payment plan, do I have to reapply every year?

No. After submission of an initial application, additional annual applications are not required, as long as the first quarterly payment is made each year.

How can I obtain an application?

The installment payment plan application period is closed for 2016 property taxes. Installment payment plan applications for 2017 property taxes will be accepted starting November 1, 2016, and are due by April 30, 2017. Click here for more information.

Tangible Personal Property Taxes

What happens when tangible taxes are not paid?

Beginning April 1, unpaid accounts accrue interest at 1.5 % a month, plus additional costs. According to Florida law, the names of people or businesses with unpaid tangible personal property taxes are advertised in the newspaper. The cost of advertising is added to the delinquent tax bill. A written lien (also called a warrant) is then issued on all unpaid accounts, and a certified notice is sent to the owner named on the tax roll.

If taxes are still not paid, the Tax Collector must petition the Circuit Court to have a judge “confirm” the warrant that authorizes the Tax Collector to seize and sell the personal property to pay the taxes. The court costs are added to the delinquent tax bill, along with a delinquent collection fee of 15%. If the property cannot be located or is sold for less than the amount due, all other personal property of the taxpayer is subject to seizure and sale.

Who is responsible for the tax if the property is bought or sold?

The tangible personal property tax bill is issued to the owner of the property as of January 1 of the tax year assessed. This owner is responsible for the tax bill for that year. Any proration of the taxes must be handled between the buyer and seller.

Even though the warrant is issued in the owner’s name, it is important to note that the “lien” attaches to the tangible property. If taxes remain unpaid, this lien survives the sale or transfer of the property. Therefore, it is very important to verify that tangible taxes are paid prior to the purchase of a business or rental property.

Tax Certificate Sale

What are tax certificates?

Tax certificates are interest-bearing first liens representing unpaid delinquent real estate property taxes that are offered for sale by the Pinellas County Tax Collector. Tax certificates are not recorded liens nor are they reported to any credit bureaus. They are a first priority lien. A tax certificate sale is a public auction for investors to earn interest on paying other people’s property taxes. A certificate is auctioned off to the bidder who is willing to accept the lowest interest rate.

How can a tax certificate be sold on my property?

Florida Statute 197.432 requires that the Tax Collector sell tax certificates on properties with unpaid taxes on or before June 1. A tax certificate sale is a public auction for investors to earn interest on paying other people’s property taxes. A certificate is auctioned off to the bidder who is willing to accept the lowest interest rate. If there are no bids on a particular certificate, it is “struck off” to the county at 18%, the highest interest rate allowed by Florida law.

If I buy a certificate, can I pay the taxes and own the property?

No. You have not purchased property. A tax certificate is an investment. This investment does not convey any property rights or ownership to the certificate holder. A certificate holder is an investor and the purpose of purchasing certificates is to earn interest on your investment, not buy the property.

Who can participate in the tax certificate sale?

Anyone. To participate in the sale, a bidder must register with the Tax Collector’s office via bidpinellas.com. A bidder number is assigned for identification purposes during the sale. Bidders are required to make a deposit via Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit on bidpinellas.com. Registered bidders must provide their federal taxpayer identification number or Social Security number. Only one bidder per taxpayer ID/Social Security number will be allowed to register. All interest earned will be reported to the IRS on form 1099-int.

What is the life of a tax certificate?

Certificates are null and void seven years from the date of issuance, and they continue to accrue interest until they are redeemed. If the certificate has not been redeemed after two years, the certificate holder may apply for a tax deed sale to have the property sold at auction.