Real Estate Taxes
On April 1, real estate taxes for the previous year become delinquent, and a 3% interest charge is added to the tax bill. For example, unpaid 2015 real estate taxes will become delinquent on April 1, 2016. If delinquent taxes are not paid on or before May 31, 2016, they will be included in the annual Pinellas County Tax Certificate Sale, which is advertised in advance for three consecutive weeks. After May 31, 2016, personal checks are not accepted for delinquent real estate taxes. Delinquent taxes may be paid with cash, cashier’s check, money order, credit card, or wire transfer made payable to “Pinellas County Tax Collector.” Personal or business checks are not accepted. For instructions on wire transfers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tax certificate sale, required by Florida law each year, is an online auction where investors receive a certificate for paying taxes that remain delinquent. In return, the investor receives an annual interest rate that will be added to the delinquent tax bill. The interest rates start at 18%, and certificates are awarded to the investor who accepts the lowest rate. If there are no bids on a particular certificate, it is issued to Pinellas County at 18% annual interest.
Once a certificate has been sold, the taxpayer is responsible for paying delinquent taxes, along with accrued interest, advertising costs and fees. Interest will continue to accrue until the taxes are paid. Additionally, a tax certificate is considered an enforceable first lien, meaning the certificate must be paid before all other claims on the property. For these reasons, we highly recommend paying all delinquent taxes before the tax certificate sale held on or before June 1st.
If taxes remain unpaid for two years after becoming delinquent, the certificate holder is allowed to file a tax deed application with the Tax Collector. At that point, the property may be sold by the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court at a tax deed sale. If you have any further questions, please call us at 727-464-7777.
Tangible personal property taxes
Tangible personal property taxes become delinquent April 1, at which time interest accrues at 1.5% per month (18% per year) plus advertising and fees. At the end of April, a list of delinquent tangible personal property taxpayers is advertised once in a local newspaper, the cost of which is added to the tax bill.
Under Florida Statute 197, the Tax Collector issues warrants on May 1 on all unpaid tangible personal property taxes. The Tax Collector will also apply to the circuit court for an order directing levy and seizure of the property for the amount of the unpaid taxes and costs. A circuit court hearing is scheduled, and if taxes remain unpaid, the warrants are ratified by the court, authorizing the Tax Collector to seize and sell tangible personal property for nonpayment of taxes.