Philadelphia Tax Sale Litigation Lawyers
At Weisberg Law, we understand that tax sale litigation can be a complex and daunting process. Our experienced team of Philadelphia real estate litigation attorneys is here to guide you through every step of the way and protect your interests.
What is Tax Sale?
A tax sale is a public auction or sale of property that occurs when the property owner fails to pay their taxes. It is a legal mechanism used by governments to collect delinquent property taxes. When property taxes are not paid, the government may place a lien on the property, indicating that the owner owes a debt in the form of unpaid taxes.
To recover the unpaid taxes, the government may hold a tax sale where the property is sold to the highest bidder. The purpose of the tax sale is to transfer the ownership of the property to a new owner who is willing to pay the outstanding taxes. The proceeds from the sale are then used to satisfy the tax debt.
Types of Tax Sales In Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, there are several types of tax sales that can occur. Here are three common types:
Tax Lien Sales: In a tax lien sale, the local government sells the delinquent tax liens on properties to investors. The investor pays the outstanding taxes on behalf of the property owner and, in return, receives a lien on the property. The property owner is then responsible for repaying the investor, usually with interest, to redeem the property.
Upset Tax Sales: Upset tax sales occur when a property has unpaid taxes from the previous year. The property is offered for sale to the highest bidder, and the starting bid is typically set at the total amount of taxes owed. The winning bidder receives a deed to the property, subject to any existing mortgages or liens. Property owners have the right to redeem their properties for a period of time following the sale by paying the outstanding taxes, penalties, and interest.
Judicial Tax Sales: Judicial tax sales are conducted through the court system. These sales typically occur when a property has unpaid taxes for several years, and the local government initiates a lawsuit to collect the debt. If the court determines that the property owner has failed to pay the taxes, the property may be sold at auction to satisfy the debt.
What is Tax Sale Litigation?
Tax sale litigation is a legal process that occurs when a property owner challenges the sale of their property due to unpaid taxes. It involves legal actions, such as lawsuits, appeals, or other legal remedies, taken by property owners, bidders, or other parties involved in or affected by tax sales.
Why Does Tax Sale Litigation Happen in PA?
Tax sale litigation can occur in Pennsylvania for various reasons.
A few common situations that may lead to tax sale litigation in the state include:
Disputed Property Ownership: In some cases, there may be disputes over the ownership of a property that is subject to a tax sale. These disputes can arise due to issues such as unclear property boundaries, conflicting deeds or titles, or inheritance disputes. When multiple parties claim ownership of a property, it can result in litigation to determine the rightful owner before the tax sale can proceed.
Incorrect Assessment or Valuation: Property owners may challenge the assessed value of their property if they believe it is incorrect or unfair. If the property owner disagrees with the assessed value, they may file an appeal with the appropriate assessment appeal board or court. This can lead to litigation if the property owner and the taxing authority cannot reach an agreement on the property's value.
Procedural Errors: Tax sales are governed by specific procedures and requirements outlined in Pennsylvania law. If there are procedural errors or irregularities in the tax sale process, such as inadequate notice to property owners or failure to follow proper auction procedures, it can give rise to legal challenges. Property owners may file lawsuits alleging that the tax sale was conducted improperly, seeking to invalidate the sale or obtain other legal remedies.
Constitutional or Legal Challenges: Property owners may also initiate litigation to challenge the constitutionality or legality of certain aspects of tax sales in Pennsylvania. This could include arguments related to due process, equal protection, or other constitutional rights. Such challenges may seek to change or invalidate certain provisions of the tax sale laws or procedures.
Legal Representation for Tax Sale Litigation in Philadelphia
Tax sale litigation can be complex and may involve various legal arguments, evidence, and court proceedings. It is advisable for parties involved in tax sale disputes to seek legal counsel from attorneys experienced in real estate law or tax law to understand their rights, navigate the legal process, and protect their interests effectively.
Involved in a serious tax sale matter? Call (610) 550-8042 or contact us online for a free initial consultation with a tax sale litigation attorney in Philadelphia, PA.
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