CharlotteCounty Certificate Sale Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Charlotte County Tax Certificate Sale

Basics | The Tax Certificate Sale | Using the Auction Site | Tax Certificates


What is a tax certificate?
A tax certificate is a first lien against real estate (not the owner) and becomes the basis upon which a tax deed application is filed. The tax certificate sale is NOT a sale of real property, nor does a tax certificate give the certificate holder a direct means to acquire a property. According to Florida Statute 197.432 (13) 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 2 years after April 1 of the year of issuance of the tax certificate.

It is your sole responsibility to research any tax lien certificates you intend to buy. You can see additional property and tax information for any item by clicking on the Account or Parcel Number on the auction web site. Research any advertised items carefully before submitting bids. There are potential risks associated with tax certificate purchases. All purchases in the tax certificate sale are final.

When does the tax certificate sale take place?
The sale opens in early to mid May and starts to close on or before June 1.

In early to mid-May each year:
  • Items for sale are advertised (in a local newspaper and on
  • Bidders can begin to register for the sale (submit W-9 forms, get bidder numbers)
  • Bidders can begin to submit bids
Starting on, or before, June 1:
  • Bid submission ends
  • Sale results are generated
For exact dates and details, please see the Auction Schedule. All activity related to registration, bidding, and certificate awards takes place on the auction web site.

How do I register for the sale?
All bidders who wish to participate in the sale must perform the following steps on
  • Obtain a User ID and password for the web site by clicking the "Sign In" link at the top left of the page, then clicking the "Create A User" button and completing the required form
  • Submit an IRS W-9 Form
  • Set a budget amount (the most you are willing to spend in the sale)
  • Please note that you can only submit or modify your W-9 while a sale is open. You will be assigned a bidder number after you successfully submit your W-9.
Can I participate as a non-US bidder?
The Tax Collector will only accept bids from US persons who are qualified to complete an IRS W-9 form and provide a valid US TIN.

How do I submit my bids?
You can submit your bids on the Bid page individually, as a group (using a saved list), or via a file upload. You must complete all the registration steps before you are allowed to submit bids.

How do I pay for certificate purchases?
Payment must be made by ACH. The balance due for your purchases will be automatically debited from the bank account you designated as your "Final Payment Account" at the designated Final Payment Deadline. If you wish to manually make your payment prior to the Final Payment Deadline, please go to the "Payments and Budget" page under "My Account" and click "Pay for Certificates". The button is activated once the last batch in the sale closes and any final data updates are complete. The deadline to pay is listed on the Auction Schedule. If your final payment is returned as invalid for any reason, you may forfeit your security deposit and certificate purchases.

What is an ACH debit?
An ACH debit is an electronic payment from your checking or savings account. When you enter your bank account information and submit payment on, you are authorizing the tax collector to debit your account for the amount you indicated. All payments are sent for processing immediately. Additional information is available on the page where you authorize payment.

Funds must be drawn from a US financial institution. Some types of money market, brokerage, and/or trust accounts cannot accept ACH debits. Please check with your financial institution prior to initiating payment on the web site.


What is the auction process?
Certificates are sold in the order advertised. Bidding begins at 18 percent (the maximum rate) and bids down in decrements of one quarter of one percent. Each certificate is sold individually to the bidder offering the lowest interest rate. In the case of a tie at the lowest rate, the winner will be selected using a random number generator in the auction software. Items that receive no bids are "struck" to the county and become county-held certificates. Bids are accepted at 0.00% (zero), but certificates awarded at this rate WILL NOT accrue interest. Bids at 0.00% will not be treated as Proxy bids in sales using Proxy Bidding.

Is there a cost to participate?
Registration on the web site is free. You only need to pay the balance due for any certificate purchases.

What is a batch?
A batch is a subgroup of the list of auction items. The list is divided into batches to make the bidding process more efficient, and enable participants to manage their bids and budgets.

Do I have to bid on all the items in a batch?
NO. Each tax certificate in each batch is auctioned independently of every other tax certificate.

Will the Tax Collector send me a paper certificate or list of certificates after the sale?
No, the Tax Collector does not issue paper certificates or lists of purchases after the sale. To review and download a list of your winning bids:
  1. Log in to
  2. Select "Charlotte County" from the Select a County dropdown menu
  3. Click the "Bid on Tax Liens" link
  4. Enter the relevant tax certificate sale
  5. Click on the Results tab
  6. Select "All Certificates" from the Certificate Lists menu
  7. Select "All Batches" from the Batches menu
  8. Select your buyer number from the Bidder menu
  9. Select "Winning Bids" from the Results menu
  10. Check "Hide Removed Certificates"
After completing these steps you will see a list of your purchases. You can download the list in Excel, or comma-separated values format (CSV), by clicking the icons on the right-hand side of the page above the list of certificates.


I forgot my password. What should I do?
Click "Forgot your password?" on the Sign In page. Answer a few questions and the system will send you a temporary password via email.

I forgot my User ID. What should I do?
Click "Forgot your User ID?" on the Sign In page. Answer a few questions and the system will send your User ID via email.

What is Proxy Bidding?
In a live auction, bidders lower their bids by quarter percent decrements until they are the only bidder left or until the interest goes below their acceptable minimum level, at which point they would drop out.

Proxy bidding is a form of competitive sale in which bidders enter the minimum interest rate that they are willing to accept for each certificate. The auction system acts as an electronic agent, submitting bids on behalf of each bidder until their minimum bid rate is met. Using the proxy system the electronic agent keeps lowering your bid by quarter percent decrements until you are either the only bidder left, (in which case you get the certificate at a quarter percent lower than the previous bid) or until you reach the floor you have set. Note:
  • Zero percent bids (0%) will not be treated as proxy bids. They will be awarded at zero.
  • If you are the only bidder on a given certificate and your minimum rate is greater than zero percent, the electronic agent will submit a bid of 18 percent on your behalf.
  • In the case of a tie at the winning bid rate, the system awards the certificate to one of the tied bidders through a random selection process using a random number generator.
  • In no case will a bidder be awarded a certificate at a rate lower than their specified minimum acceptable rate.
  • Certificates that receive no bids after all batches are closed will be struck to the County at 18 percent.
Does my budget amount limit the number of bids I can submit?
NO. You can submit an unlimited number of bids regardless of your budget amount. However, you will not be awarded an item if the award would cause the value of your purchases to exceed your budget amount.

Where can I find sale results?
You can see results by logging in to, entering the auction, and clicking on the Results tab in the upper right-hand part of the page. Clicking on the winning bid for any certificate will display a list of all submitted bids in a new window.

What equipment or software do I need to be able to participate?
In order to use, you need an Internet connection and modern web browser with JavaScript and cookies enabled.

Most people choose one of the following freely available browsers:
If I have a question about how to use the web site, who do I contact?
Contact Grant Street Group by email at [email protected], or by phone at (866) 247-4370, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST on business days.


How do I receive redemption funds?
When a certificate has been redeemed, the certificate holder is entitled to the face value plus whatever interest the certificate has earned. Certificates are redeemed when the owner, title company or mortgage company pays the outstanding taxes, or when the holder of a certificate on the same parcel (from a different tax year) redeems it as part of a tax deed application. Redemption proceeds are remitted to certificate holders by the Tax Collector. The certificate holder is never paid directly unless it is from a Bankruptcy Trustee. If that happens, you must notify the Tax Collector when you are paid in full and request that the certificate be canceled.

Can I pay the taxes and own the property?
NO. You have not purchased property. A tax certificate does not convey any property rights or ownership to the certificate holder.

Can an interest rate be changed after the sale?
The following may affect the interest rate:
  • No interest is earned on certificates issued and then redeemed in the month of May.
  • For all certificates, except those bid at 0% or issued and redeemed in May, the minimum interest you will get at the time of redemption will be 5%, even if the interest earned to date is less.
  • If a certificate gets canceled or reduced, the interest earned will be 8% per year, simple interest, or the rate of interest bid at the tax certificate sale, whichever is less, on the canceled or reduced amount.
  • Bankruptcy and other court rulings

Are tax certificates transferable?
Certificates can be transferred by completing an endorsement form and paying the applicable fees through the Tax Collector's office.

When are county-held certificates available for purchase?
County-held tax certificates, other than those with homestead real estate under $250.00, may be purchased after the close of the tax sale. As the Tax Collector sells county-held certificates online using LienHub, certificates available for sale can be found using the "Purchase County-Held Certificates" link.

What is the life of a tax certificate?
The statute of limitation on a tax certificate is seven years from the date of issuance. If a tax deed has not been applied for and no other administrative or legal proceeding exists, the tax certificate is null and void.

Vickie L. Potts
Charlotte County Tax Collector
18500 Murdock Circle
Port Charlotte, FL 33948

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