Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Couple May Lose Home Over $1.63 Tax Bill

In 2000, a Louisiana couple, Kermit and Dolores Atwood, learned their house, which they had owned mortgage-free since 1968 had been sold three years earlier -- about a week after the three-year period in which delinquent taxpayers can reclaim their property had ended -- all because a $1.63 property tax bill was sent to a wrong address and then returned undelivered to the St. Tammany Parish sheriff's office.

The State Tax Commission nullified the sale so the Atwoods thought everything was alright until they tried to sell the home in 2002 and found that the people who bought the house were suing to get them out of their house, meaning they don't have a clear title.

When Katrina hit, trees fell on the house, but the Atwoods didn't have insurance, and because they didn't have clear title, they didn't qualify for federal help.

In May 2006, the State District Judge ruled that the property title belongs to the Atwoods. The buyer appealed and was turned down and now the buyer plans to take his case to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

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