Sunday, January 04, 2015

tax sales - documentation required of efforts to give notice

Appeal of Tufarolo – Cmwlth. Court – December 31, 2014 – unreported memorandum decision


Tax sale of residential property overturned because of failure of county tax claim bureau to document  its efforts to give notice to property owner, as required by 72 P.S. sec. 5860.607a, even though tht TCB did comply with the statutory notice requirements.  The statute states that "a notation shall be placed in the oroperty file describing the efforts made [to serve notice of the tax sale] and the results thereof…."  It was undisputed the such notations were not made.

"Accurate documentation is essential to inform anyone reviewing the rile about the Bureau's complaint, or lack thereof.  The public is entitled to rely on the correctness and completeness of the Bureau's property files.  The Bureau’s failure to document its additional notification efforts in the property file, regardless of their success, constitutes grounds to set aside the sale of the Property. Our precedent requires strict construction of Section 607.1, compelling a taxing bureau’s adherence. Steinbacher v. Northumberland Cnty. Tax Claim Bureau, 996 A.2d 1095 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2010) (en banc); Rice v. Compro Distrib., Inc., 901 A.2d 570, 577 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006); Smith v. Tax Claim Bureau of Pike Cnty., 834 A.2d 1247, 1253 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003) (citing Tracy v. Chester Cnty. Tax Claim Bureau, 489 A.2d 1334, 1339 (Pa. 1985)).

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