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Tax Certificate Sales Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Internet auction?

An auction in which bids are transmitted and received electronically through the Internet using a computer and a web browser.

How is an internet auction different from an in-person tax sale?

Prior to the internet sale, bidders congregated in a large room and called out their bids to the auctioneer in a process lasting more than a month. An Internet sale allows this process to be handled electronically. Each bidder will use a personal ID and Password to log on to the web site and enter bids for individual tax certificates.

What equipment or software do I need to be able to participate in an internet auction?

A bidder must have Internet access and a web browser (recommended: Internet Explorer 5.0 or later version, Mozilla Firebird 0.8 or later, or Netscape 7.1 or later). The Tax Collector will supply computers for training/bidding by appointment only.

Will it cost me anything to participate in an internet auction?

Bidders will be available to participate at no cost, with the exception of any deposit required by the tax collector.

Who will show me how to use the Internet system?

Users are encouraged to participate in a Self Demo, Trial Auction or a Guided Demo prior to bidding.

  1. Self Demo - Please click the Demo button on the Home page and follow the instructions. The instructions are designed to lead users through the auction process.
  2. Trial Auction - Please click the Trial Auction button on the Home page. The Trial Auction is a simulation of a real auction, in which bidders practice bidding and, subsequently, viewing auction results.
  3. Guided Demo - Please send an email or call 800-410-3445, extension 1, to receive a guided demo over the phone (which is available only after user completes the Self Demo).

What are the advantages of an Internet tax sale?

To the bidders?

  1. Easy access to underlying property and tax information from multiple public sources.
  2. Bids can be submitted in the comfort and privacy of the user’s home or office.
  3. An extended time frame during which the bidder can submit and review bids. A bidder does not have to worry about being "heard" by an auctioneer.
  4. Unofficial results from an auction can be viewed immediately after the auction is over.


To the Tax Collector?

  1. Substantial savings of time and money.
  2. Internet platform allows users to bid from any location with an Internet connection, which can help to increase the number of bidders and the level of competition.

How do I get started?

  1. Register on the website to receive a personal ID and Password.
  2. Review the Self Demo, Trial Auction, and/or Guided Demo.
  3. Complete and submit online IRS Form W-9.
  4. Submit security deposit, as required.

When are my bids due?

Bids can be submitted to the web site once the Advertised List is published on the Internet, usually in early May. Bids can be withdrawn or altered at any point up to the closing of the Batch.

What is Proxy bidding?

  1. Proxy bidding is a form of competitive sale in which bidders input the minimum interest rate they are willing to accept for each certificate they would like to purchase. At the close of each batch, the auction system, acting as an electronic agent for each bidder, compares minimum acceptable rates entered by all bidders for each individual certificate. When there is more than one bidder, the final bids consist of the minimum trates entered by all bidders except the winner, whose final bid will be equal to the second lowest minimum rate minus 0.25%, unless there is a bid at 0%, in which case the winner will be awarded at 0%.
  2. In the case of a tie at the winning bid rate, the system awards to one of the winners through a random selection process using a random number generator.
  3. In no case will a bidder be awarded a certificate ar a rate lower than his specified minimum acceptable rate.
  4. Certificates that receive no bids will be struck to the county at 18%.

What is a Batch?

Batches are auction subgroups of the Advertised List that serve as a means of organizing tax certificates for the purpose of facilitating bid submission. Each tax certificate in each Batch is auctioned independently of every other tax certificate and arranged in sequential order with a unique auction closing time for each Batch.

What happens if the delinquent taxes are paid after my bid is submitted but before the batch closes?

Since bids can be entered at any time after the list of delinquent properties is posted and the Tax Collector will continue to accept payments through close of business May 31, 2011, this is possible. The website is updated daily to reflect all payments received.

If the payment was received prior to the start of the sale, the certificate is canceled, winning bids on certificates for which taxes have been paid either before or after a batch closes, will be invalidated and winning bidders will receive a credit to the unused portion of their budget or a refund.

How do I submit my security deposit and pay for certificates purchased?

All security deposits and certificate purchases will be paid via ACH (Automated Clearinghouse) Debit.

What is an ACH Debit?

  1. An ACH debit is an electronic forms transfer from your bank account initiated by the Tax Collector with your prior authorization. For more information on ACH, please visit NACHA, the Electronic Payments Association.
  2. Funds must be drawn from a U.S. 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.

When do Bidders have to pay the amount due for their purchases?

After the last batch closes the Tax Collector will balance and review the results of the sale. The Tax Collector then sends a notice to each buyer of awarded certificates giving them 48 hours from the mailing of that notice to pay the remaining balance. Buyers will also be sent an electronic version of the letter on the same date.

What happens if I fail to pay the balance within the period indicated?

A buyer who fails to pay the remaining balance within the specified time frame will result in all certificates awarded being canceled and offered for resale and forfeiture of their deposit.

What happens to my deposit if I don't win any certificates or if my deposit was more than I was awarded?

In either case any unused portions of the deposit will be refunded by check or ACH to your bank institution.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Thu Feb 9, 2012 12:15:23 PM

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