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Tax Deed Sales

Real property taxes are due each year and are payable between the months of November of the tax year up to March 31st of the next year. Effective April 1st of each year, any unpaid real property taxes become delinquent property taxes. Each year, the county Tax Collector sells Tax Certificates for delinquent real property taxes on June 1st. The purchaser of a Tax Certificate is referred to as a Certificate-Holder. A Certificate-Holder, after waiting for at least two (2) years, from April 1st of the year the certificate was sold, will make application with the Tax Collector for the real property to be sold at public auction in order to be repaid the amount owed to them, plus interest. The Application for Tax Deed file is then transferred to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for processing and subsequent Tax Deed Sale. This process is governed by Title XIV, Ch. 197 of the Florida Statutes, and by FAC 12D-13.060, Florida Department of Revenue.

Taxes become delinquent April 1st of each year. At that time, the Tax Collector begins preparing the certificate sale. A tax certificate is sold for all taxes not paid by June 1st. A tax certificate is a tax lien against the property. The certificate holder does not have any rights to the property. If no individual purchases a certificate on a piece of property at the June 1st sale, the County assumes the certificate. There are two types of tax certificates: individual and County. The owner or interested party may redeem the certificate at any time by paying to the Tax Collector the delinquent taxes and interest earned by the certificate holder. (Section 197.472, F.S.). The tax certificate has a life of seven years. (Section 197.482, F.S.).

If a certificate is not redeemed, the certificate holder may force the issue by making application for tax deed. A certificate must be two years old, from April 1st of the year the certificate was sold, to be eligible for tax deed application. (For County held certificates, the Board of County Commissioners makes application for the tax deed). The application process must begin in the Tax Collector’s office. The Tax Collector prepares the necessary paperwork (which includes Tax Collector’s certificate and legal description of property) and forwards it to the Clerk’s office. The Clerk’s office prepares the legal advertisement for the newspaper, the certified mailing of notices of the pending sale, the civil process to be served by the Sheriff’s office, the calculation of the opening bid, answers questions from public, and waits for the sale day. The certificate may be redeemed until full payment for the tax deed is made to the Clerk of Court. All redemptions are made at the Tax Collector’s Office.

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Tax Deed Sales FAQ’s

Who conducts the tax deed sale?
The tax deed sale will be conducted online at in accordance with Section 197, F.S.
When and where are these tax deed sales held?
Tax Deed sales may be advertised in one of several different newspapers in Okaloosa County but are normally published in the Crestview News Bulletin. The Clerk of the Circuit Court is required by Florida Statute to advertise each sale once a week for four consecutive weeks prior to the public auction, Section 197.512(1), F.S.
What liens or encumbrances survive against a property after it is sold at a tax deed sale?
This is a complex question that this office cannot answer. Please seek competent legal advice before bidding on a piece of property. Records can be researched on our Official records website.
Can the property owner stop the property from being sold for taxes?
The property owner or mortgage holder may redeem the property from the tax deed sale by paying the amount owed. The total redemption amount is collected/paid to the office of the Tax Collector. (Most of the properties advertised for sale will be redeemed and will not be auctioned.)
If I am the successful bidder at the sale, what do I need to do?
According to office policy, as the successful bidder you must remain until the auction is complete and then report to the Deputy Clerk who conducted the sale. You will be required to post a 5% or $200.00, whichever is greater, cash (or certified funds) deposit for each property you purchase. You will be given calculations for your total amount due. This total will include your bid amount plus the fees to record your Tax Deed. The total amount due must be brought back to the Clerk of Court’s office no later than 10:00 a.m. of the business day following the sale. (Payment may only be made by cash or certified funds. Our office’s preferred payment method is certified funds.)
How do I become a registered bidder?
In order to participate in the sale, bidders must register on the site to get a Username and Password and place a valid deposit for your bids to be considered. You will need to place a deposit in the amount of $200.00 or 5%, whichever is higher, (a $200 deposit will be sufficient for up to a $4,000 bid) for each item you anticipate winning at the sale. If you are the successful bidder for property at a tax deed sale, full payment must be received by the Clerk’s Office within 24 hours of the sale. Acceptable forms of payment are a wire transfer, cash, cashier’s check or money order.
Do I get a clear title with a tax deed?
All properties sold at a tax deed sale qualify under “buyer beware”. The purchase of a Tax Deed does not warrant or guarantee clear and marketable title. Note: Most title insurance companies require the property to go through a quiet title action for the property to be able to have title insurance issued on property purchased by Tax Deed. Consult your attorney for more information on Quiet Title actions.
What are some things I should know before the sale?
Section 197.562, F.S., states: “Any person, firm, corporation, or county that is the grantee of any tax deed under this law shall be entitled to the immediate possession of the lands described in the deed. If demand for possession is refused, the purchaser may apply to the circuit court for a writ of assistance upon 5 days’ notice directed to the person refusing to deliver possession. Upon service of the responsive pleadings, if any, the matter shall proceed as in chancery cases. If the court finds for the applicant, an order shall be issued by the court directing the sheriff to put the grantee in possession of the lands.” Consult your attorney for more information on writ of assistance actions.
If I am the successful bidder at a Tax Deed Auction, am I entitled to immediate possession of the property after a Tax Deed has been issued to me?
Please refer to Section 197.562 F.S. as cited in the previous question. Records can be researched on our Official records website .
How is the amount of the opening bid determined?
If the property is not homestead property, the amount of the opening bid equals the total of unpaid taxes and interest, the Tax Collector’s administration fees, the Clerk of Circuit Court administration fees and expenditure fees required by Florida Statute to bring the property to delinquent tax sale. If the property is homestead property, one half of the assessed value from the tax roll is added to the above amounts for the total opening bid amount.
How long does it take to receive the Tax Deed?
You should have your Tax Deed within 7 to 10 days from the sale date.
What happens to any overbid surplus funds after the sale?
Overbid surplus funds are held by this office and are paid to satisfy any government lien(s) to the extent possible. Notices of Surplus Funds are mailed to all interested parties in accordance with ch. 197. After expiration of the claim period, either an assignment of claim priority is determined, and disbursements made, or, if no claims have been received, the funds (or any remaining balance thereof) are transferred to the State of Florida, Department of Revenue. In some cases, if priority is unable to be determined, an “interpleader action” must be brought before the judiciary for a court determination. All court costs and attorney fees for processing an interpleader action are debited from the surplus funds. Each online file contains specific overbid surplus fund information. Please review the online file for details.

If you would like to make a claim please complete a Claim to Surplus Proceeds form and return it to the Clerk of Courts office.

Where may I obtain information regarding the sale of Tax Certificates?
Tax certificate information can be obtained from the Tax Collector’s Office located at 1250 N. Eglin Parkway, Suite 101, Shalimar, FL 32579. The phone number for the Tax Collector’s Delinquent Tax department is 850-651-7604.


What is eRecording?

eRecording is a secure online submission of documents to the Okaloosa County Clerk of Courts office for recording in the Official Records of Okaloosa County. eRecording eliminates the need to mail or deliver documents to our office and saves time and money for both the Clerk’s office and our customers.

Benefits of eRecording:

  • Ability to submit electronically – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Expedites recording process
  • Increases efficiencies, streamlines workflow
  • Eliminates payment errors
  • Improves document security – you retain original documents
  • Reduces time gap for recording

If you are a recording customer and wish to begin sending your documents to Okaloosa County electronically, then please contact one of the following eRecording vendors to learn about the benefits of eRecording with Okaloosa County Clerk of Courts Recording Office.

All vendors will be required to abide by the eRecording Business Rules that have been established to comply with the rules prescribed by the Department of State and recommended by the Florida Electronic Recording Advisory Committee.

Disclaimer: When you submit a document for eRecording, that does not constitute as the document being recorded in Okaloosa County Clerk of Court’s Official Records. Documents are recorded in the order they are received. There is no guarantee that documents will be recorded by Clerk of Court in the same day as it is eRecorded. 


For your convenience, the Okaloosa County Clerk of Court is now offering Electronic Certified Court Documents for purchase on the Clerk’s website.  Each electronic certified document uses advanced encryption features to produce a tamper proof electronic certified document that will include a unique Clerk of Court digital signature.

In order to purchase an Electronic Certified Court Document on the website, the document must be in a viewable electronic format.  If the case and/or document is not available for viewing on the website, please submit a Request for Court Records or visit our office to purchase or view copies of paper court records.

E-Certify Court & Official Records

Records Management

Records Management is responsible for coordinating the agency’s records management program. Florida Law requires that every government agency “…establish and administer a Records Management Program directed to the application of efficient and economical management methods relating to the creation, utilization, maintenance, retention, preservation, and disposal of records.” (Chapter 257, F.S.). The Public Records Law, Florida Statutes, Chapter 119, states that all state, county and municipal records shall be open for personal inspection by any person. The Department of State, Judicial Rules of Administration, Division of Library and Information Services of the Department of State (aka BARM) shall adopt rules to establish retention schedules and a disposal process for public records. Chapter 119 and Judicial Rules of Administration also states that each agency shall establish a program for the disposal of records that do not have sufficient legal, fiscal, administrative, or archival value in accordance with retention schedules established by BARM.

A records management program for all levels of Florida Government is outlined in Chapters 119 and 257, Florida Statutes as well as the Judicial Rules for Administration. The records management program is very broad in scope and covers every aspect of public records, from their creation to their ultimate destruction.

Courts records are subject to Rules of Judicial Administration.  All access, retention and destruction are performed in accordance with the court rules.

Official Records

Many types of documents are recorded in the Clerk’s Office. Mortgages, deeds, assignments, leases, agreements, notices, claims of liens, satisfactions and other instruments relating to the ownership, transfer, encumbrance of or claims against real or personal property or any interest therein. Other documents recorded are court documents, declarations of domicile, and certain federal instruments.

Recording fees
The recording fee for recording a document is $10.00 for the first page and $8.50 for each additional. There is an indexing fee applied to all documents. If there are over 4 names to be indexed there is a $1.00 fee for each additional name. Recording a subdivision plat is $30.00 for the first page and $15.00 for each additional page.

Documentary stamps
This office also serves as a collection agent for the Florida Department of Revenue. It is the duty of this office to collect the required documentary and intangible taxes on documents such as deeds and mortgages unless exempt. The current documentary stamp tax fee for a deed is .70 cents per $100.00 based on the consideration. Consideration may be the amount paid, amount of any encumbrance, value of a trade, or combinations of one or more of these. Please consult with this office or the Department of Revenue for assistance in determining consideration. The current documentary stamp tax fee for a mortgage is .35 cents per $100.00 based on the mortgage amount. When figuring the documentary stamp tax, you always round up to the next hundred. Also, on a mortgage intangible tax is due at the rate of 2 mills (.002) of the actual mortgage amount.

Documentary stamp tax notice:
Failure to pay the full amount of documentary stamps due will result in a penalty under §201.17(2)(b), F.S.  The penalty is equal to 10 percent of any unpaid tax and may escalate to 50 percent of the unpaid tax, depending on the amount of time the tax is unpaid.  Interest of one percent per month is charged based upon the amount of tax due from the date of recordation until the tax is paid.  Additional penalties may apply.

There is a continuing obligation to pay documentary stamp taxes based on the consideration, as required by law and defined by code, on value paid for a deed transferring any interest in real property.  If incorrect documentary stamp taxes are paid, penalty and interest may accrue. The definition of consideration may be highly technical and may require assistance.  This office has very limited information and advises that in all cases you contact the Florida Department of Revenue for exact directions. They may be reached at Florida Department of Revenue Taxpayer Services, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 800-352-3671.  Or you may want to contact James McAdams, Program Director, Property Tax Oversight, Florida Department of Revenue, PO Box 3000, Tallahassee, FL 32315-3000, 850-488-3338, [email protected].

Submitting a document for recording
Documents may be submitted for recording in person, or by mail, at either of our locations.

  • 101 East James Lee Blvd., Crestview, FL 32536
  • 1940 Lewis Turner Blvd., Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547

We also receive documents via e-recording vendors.

If submitted by mail, please enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the document to be returned. Our office cannot accept personal checks.

Department Contacts:

Records Services
Clerk of Court and Comptroller
101 E. James Lee Blvd., Suite 108
Crestview, FL 32536
(850) 689-5000 ext 3361
[email protected]

Public Records Custodian:
Cody Nicholson, D.C., RMLO, MA
1940 Lewis Turner Blvd.
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
[email protected]