Tax Certificate Sale

The Tax Collector is required by law to hold a tax certificate sale on or before June 1 each year on properties with delinquent taxes that remain unpaid.

If payment is not received by 5:00 p.m. on the business day immediately before the date of the certificate sale, a certificate will be issued, and additional charges will accrue.

The tax certificate sale is not a sale for the purchase of the property, but rather the purchase of a lien for the delinquent taxes, interest, costs, and charges for the property described in the certificate.

The sale is operated on a competitive bid basis with interest bids beginning at 18% and progressing downward in 0.25% increments. The tax certificate is issued to the bidder that will accept the lowest rate of interest. 

Participate in the annual tax certificate auction

County Held Certificates

Certificates that are not sold at the tax certificate sale are held by the county and may be purchased after the tax certificate sale, prior to redemption or execution of a tax deed.

As with the certificates sold through the tax certificate sale, purchasing a county held certificate is not the purchase of the property, but a purchase of the lien for the delinquent taxes and associated costs with the certificate.

The cost to purchase a county held certificate is the face value of the certificate, accrued interest and a $6.25 processing fee.

Purchase or research county held certificates

Certificate Transfers

Individually owned certificates may be transferred by endorsement at any time before they are redeemed, or a tax deed application is made for a fee of $2.25 per tax certificate.

New certificate holders must contact the Tax Collector's office at 239.533.6000 and complete a W-9 or W-8 form if they have not already done so. The official endorsement of a tax certificate by the Tax Collector with the date and the amount received shall be sufficient evidence of the assignment.

Transfer certificate to another bidder

Certificate Redemptions

To pay taxes on a property with a tax certificate, the certificate must be redeemed in certified U.S. funds drawn on a U.S. bank:

  • Cash
  • Certified check
  • Cashier's check
  • Money order

Redeeming the certificate will cancel the lien placed when the certificate was sold.

The cost to redeem the certificate within 60 days of the date of delinquency is the face value of the certificate, plus a $6.25 office fee.

On the 61st day of delinquency the amount of interest due is 5% of the face value until the interest accrued at the bid rate exceeds the minimum 5%, plus a $6.25 office fee.

Certificates with a 0% bid interest rate, do not accrue interest, nor does the 5% minimum mandatory interest apply, however, the face value, plus a $6.25 office fee is applicable at the time of redemption.

Certificate Cancellations

Any tax certificate can be cancelled if errors, omission, or double assessments are made.

If a tax certificate is cancelled, the interest rate earned will be 8% per year or the bid rate, whichever is lower. Interest is calculated monthly, from the date of purchase until the date the refund is ordered.

The mandatory 5% interest does not apply to cancellations.

All interest earned is reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Interest may be withheld for Federal tax purposes at the request of the IRS.

Tax Deed Application

The holder of an unredeemed certificate may apply for a tax deed at any time after two years have elapsed since April 1, of the year of issuance and before the expiration of seven years from the date of issuance.

The tax deed applicant is required to submit a signed application, pay to the tax collector the costs and fees required for making application, and all amounts required for redemption or purchase of all other outstanding certificates covering the land, in certified U.S. funds drawn on a U.S. bank:

  • Cash
  • Certified check
  • Cashier's check
  • Money order

A tax deed application is not considered completed until all application costs and fees, including redemption fees, have been paid.

Upon receipt of a completed tax deed application the tax collector obtains an Ownership and Encumbrance report which is forwarded to the Lee County Clerk of Circuit Court who will administer the sale of the property.

The tax deed applicant is not guaranteed title to the property.

The Clerk of Circuit Court conducts tax deed auctions online. Information on upcoming sales and how to participate in Tax Deed Auctions may be found by visiting

Once a tax deed application has been made, a property owner or his agent has the right to redeem the property prior to the issuance of a tax deed by paying all costs and fees that the applicant has paid plus the amount necessary to redeem all the tax certificates in possession of the applicant, and the tax deed applicant's statutory interest.

All interest earned is reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Interest may be withheld for Federal tax purposes at the request of the IRS.