The annual tax sale - legally mandated and governed by state law - is part of the Illinois property tax system. In Illinois, the property tax is the single largest source of local taxes. Selling taxes helps the various taxing bodies (schools, villages, parks, townships, libraries, public health and safety agencies, etc.) meet their financial commitments. For property owners, the financial consequence of having property taxes sold generally exceeds the cost of paying the tax. If a property owner's taxes are sold, fees and costs rise substantially. The combination of the high cost of redemption and the potential of losing property is the enforcement mechanism that Illinois employs-and that other states employ with similar methods. If taxes are sold, the taxing agencies receive the full amount of taxes due from the successful tax buyer, plus county penalties and a number of county fees that have been established by state law for meeting the costs of conducting tax sales. The delinquent tax portion of the money is distributed to local taxing bodies and is available for their budgetary needs. When taxpayers eventually redeem taxes, their funds reimburse the tax buyers. If the taxpayer fails to redeem, the certificate of tax purchase may be used to seek a tax deed or can be sold to another party who may pursue a tax deed.