Sumter County real estate taxes are due each year November 1, payable through March 31 of the following year, with discounts allowed for early payments and a 3% penalty imposed beginning April 1. Items remaining unpaid by Mid-April are advertised in the local newspaper for three consecutive weeks in May in an effort to notify the property owners of outstanding tax liability.

According to Florida Statutes, on or before June 1 a tax certificate sale must be held. This is a public auction where a tax certificate is sold to the party who will pay the property owners tax and accept the lowest interest rate when redemption is made. A certificate is an interest bearing lien and the interest rate varies from 0% to 18%. Certificates are sold on any items remaining unpaid at the time of the sale. Once a certificate is sold the property owners may redeem the certificate by payment of taxes plus penalty, advertising, fees and interest. If the certificate is not redeemed within a two year time period the certificate holder may begin proceedings for a tax deed sale.

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. Should you have any questions concerning what liens & judgments survive the tax deed sale, consult an attorney, we can not advise you.

Tax Deed Procedures
The Tax Collector will file the tax deed application along with the tax certificate and the Clerk shall review the documents and start the process for the tax deed sale. The certificate holder is notified of the cost of advertising, mailing and sheriff service required to be paid to the Clerk as required by statute. Notice of tax deed sales are sent to the Sumter County Times for advertisement at least 30 days prior to the sale date and published for four (4) consecutive weeks. The Sheriff posts the property at least 20 days prior to date of sale, and notice is sent to all interested parties by certified mail. The list of persons to be notified is furnished to the Clerk by the Tax Collector after the title search has been completed and filed with the Tax Collector.

The tax deed sale is a public auction, which is held on the front steps of the historic courthouse, and land will be sold to the highest bidder. The successful bidder is required, by statute, to post a non-refundable $200.00 cash bond at the time of sale. The deposit shall be applied toward the sale price at the time of full payment by the successful bidder, which is required within 24 hours of the sale by cash, cashier’s check or money order. If there are no bidders the land shall be sold to the certificate holder who is required to pay the documentary stamp tax and recording fees immediately after the sale. If the County makes the tax deed application and the property does not sell then the Clerk shall place the property on the list of lands available for taxes.

If the property is purchased for an amount in excess of the minimum bid the excess shall be distributed to governmental units which held liens against the property. If for some reason the amount was not sufficient to satisfy the governmental liens then the lien will remain survive the issuance of the tax deed. All liens are to be satisfied prior to any excess funds being distributed to any other interested party or the titleholder. The Clerk notifies all interested parties and they have ninety (90) days to file an affidavit to claim the funds or the unclaimed surplus funds will be forwarded to the Sumter County Board of County Commissioners.