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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court interprets tax sale statute

In In Re: Parcels Sold for Delinquent Taxes; Vanderburgh County Auditor, et al. v. Michiana Campgrounds, LLC, a 6-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Boehm writes:

We hold that a purchaser at a tax sale who does not seek an order to issue a deed is not entitled to the partial refund of the purchase price provided in Indiana Code section 6-1.1-25-4.6(d). * * *

The trial court and the Court of Appeals agreed with Michiana that it was entitled to the refund under section 4.6(d). The County responds that Michiana is not entitled to the refunds because section 4.6(d) allows a refund only where a petition for a tax deed is filed and the trial court refuses issuance of the deed. The County argues that because Michiana issued the first notice under section 4.5 but never attempted to issue the second notice required by section 4.6, Mi-chiana was not “refused” a deed. Rather it chose to fail to fulfill the requirements for issuance of a deed. The County also contends that section 4.5(j), discussed below, addresses situations where, as the County puts it, a “tax sale purchaser simply elects not to file a petition for a tax deed.” Michiana does not address section 4.5(j). * * *

We think that the statutory reference to “refusal” purposefully limits refunds to purchasers who go to the time and expense of seeking a deed. Buyer’s remorse is not a basis for a refund. * * *

The trial court’s grant of Michiana’s motion for refund of the purchase price minus a twenty-five percent penalty is reversed.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 27, 2007 03:19 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions