Although her home was sold at auction in 2011, she’s been living in it since then and fighting a county judge who ruled that she’d had plenty of notices about the $6.30 penalty. That fee was added to her tax bill in 2009 and grew with interest and other costs to $235 in late 2011, reports the Associated Press, leading her house to go to auction and ultimately sell for $116,000.
In May 2012 another judge said the county’s tax claim bureau couldn’t issue a deed to the new owners while the woman appealeed.
Yesterday she won a court decision that will let her go to bat once again, after the state’s Supreme Court said the county judge made a mistake in ruling against her without first holding an evidentiary hearing.
“This was particularly inappropriate because the outstanding liability was small and the value of the home was far greater than the amount paid by (the) purchaser,” wrote a judge, adding that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has “emphasized that due process under both the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions must be satisfied whenever the government subjects a citizen’s property to forfeiture for nonpayment of taxes.”
Her lawyer had argued that his client had difficulty taking over the financial matters of the home after her husband died in 2004, and fell behind on various tax bills. She thought she’d paid them all off, however.
“The facts are clear that she didn’t receive adequate notice and there was a lot of intervening circumstances that the court should have taken into account,” her attorney said.
Widow who lost home over $6.30 gets hearing [Associated Press]