Online Auction

By: Mike Tolbert
By: Mike Tolbert

Okaloosa County tax collector Chris Hughes is on a mission, a mission never tried before.

“This is the first system of its type in the country and we believe we're going to revolutionize the way delinquent taxes are collected," says Chris.

The system is the selling of tax certificates online. A tax certificate sale is where a lien is sold to an investor on properties where property tax hasn't been paid. The property owner now must pay the investor the debt plus interest which can be as high as 18 percent, a sweet deal for those willing to invest but one problem, you have to make it to the auction.

Hughes’ new online system takes it cues from ebay and opens tax certificate auctions to a worldwide audience, but what about those of us who haven't gotten up to speed on the information age? Hughes says the speed of your computer won't matter. You'll have two to three weeks to put your bid in.

Also, if two people have the winning bid, a computer will randomly pick the winner, but what if you don't have a computer?

"We're gonna have computers available here in our office in Fort Walton Beach then in Crestview and then we've partnered with the community college and the public library system to have public computer terminals available all over the county."

So can we say goodbye to the now old days where tax certificates are sold on the steps of the county courthouse? You can in Okaloosa County.


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