Bill Text: MS HB1307 | 2019 | Regular Session | Engrossed

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Land sold for nonpayment of ad valorem taxes; sale is voidable at option of owner if chancery clerk fails to send required notice.

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Passed) 2019-04-16 - Approved by Governor [HB1307 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2019-HB1307-Engrossed.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2019 Regular Session

To: Ways and Means

By: Representatives Barton, Dixon

House Bill 1307

(As Passed the House)

v    AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 27-43-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT IF A CHANCERY CLERK FAILS TO PROVIDE THE REQUIRED NOTICE TO AN OWNER OF PROPERTY SOLD DUE TO NONPAYMENT OF AD VALOREM TAXES BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF THE PERIOD FOR REDEMPTION OF THE PROPERTY, THEN THE SALE IS VOIDABLE UPON SUIT BY THE RECORD OWNER AT THE TIME OF THE SALE OR THE HEIRS, SUCCESSORS OR ASSIGNS OF THE SAID RECORD OWNER; TO BRING FORWARD SECTION 27-43-4, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDE FOR THE DUTIES OF A MUNICIPAL CLERK TO PROVIDE NOTICE TO OWNERS AND LIENORS WHEN A MUNICIPALITY SALES PROPERTY DUE TO NONPAYMENT OF MUNICIPAL TAXES FOR AD VALOREM OR SPECIAL IMPROVEMENTS, FOR THE PURPOSES OF POSSIBLE AMENDMENT; TO PROVIDE THAT COUNTY BOARDS OF SUPERVISORS AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNING AUTHORITIES MAY OFFER TO MEDICARE ELIGIBLE COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES SUPPLEMENTAL COMPENSATION, INSURANCE OR BENEFITS IF THE EMPLOYEES CHOOSE TO SECURE MEDICARE COVERAGE IN LIEU OF PARTICIPATING IN ANY COUNTY OR MUNICIPAL MEDICAL OR HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM, AS THE CASE MAY BE; TO AMEND SECTION 27-35-143, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT IF A TAX ASSESSOR HAS KNOWLEDGE OF CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES OR OCCURRENCES THAT MAY AFFECT AN ASSESSMENT OF PROPERTY FOR AD VALOREM TAX PURPOSES, THE ASSESSOR SHALL MAKE AN APPLICATION ON BEHALF OF THE INTERESTED PARTY WITH THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO CHANGE, CANCEL OR DECREASE THE ASSESSMENT; TO BRING FORWARD SECTIONS 27-35-135, 27-35-145, 27-35-149 AND 27-37-27, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH RELATE TO THE CHANGE OF ASSESSMENTS OF PROPERTY FOR AD VALOREM TAX PURPOSES, FOR THE PURPOSE OF POSSIBLE AMENDMENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

     BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

     SECTION 1.  Section 27-43-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     27-43-3.  The clerk shall issue the notice to the sheriff of the county of the reputed owner's residence, if he is a resident of the State of Mississippi, and the sheriff shall be required to serve notice as follows:

          (a)  Upon the reputed owner personally, if he can be found in the county after diligent search and inquiry, by handing him a true copy of the notice;

          (b)  If the reputed owner cannot be found in the county after diligent search and inquiry, then by leaving a true copy of the notice at his usual place of abode with the spouse of the reputed owner or some other person who lives at his usual place of abode above the age of sixteen (16) years, and willing to receive the copy of the notice; or

          (c)  If the reputed owner cannot be found after diligent search and inquiry, and if no person above the age of sixteen (16) years who lives at his usual place of abode can be found at his usual place of abode who is willing to receive the copy of the notice, then by posting a true copy of the notice on a door of the reputed owner's usual place of abode.

     The sheriff shall make his return to the chancery clerk issuing the notice.  The clerk shall also mail a copy of the notice to the reputed owner at his usual street address, if it can be ascertained after diligent search and inquiry, or to his post-office address if only that can be ascertained, and he shall note such action on the tax sales record.  The clerk shall also be required to publish the name and address of the reputed owner of the property and the legal description of the property in a public newspaper of the county in which the land is located, or if no newspaper is published as such, then in a newspaper having a general circulation in the county.  The publication shall be made at least forty-five (45) days prior to the expiration of the redemption period.

     If the reputed owner is a nonresident of the State of Mississippi, then the clerk shall mail a copy of the notice to the reputed owner in the same manner as set out in this section for notice to a resident of the State of Mississippi, except that notice served by the sheriff shall not be required.

     Notice by mail shall be by registered or certified mail.  In the event the notice by mail is returned undelivered and the notice as required in this section to be served by the sheriff is returned not found, then the clerk shall make further search and inquiry to ascertain the reputed owner's street and post-office address.  If the reputed owner's street or post-office address is ascertained after the additional search and inquiry, the clerk shall again issue notice as set out in this section.  If notice is again issued and it is again returned not found and if notice by mail is again returned undelivered, then the clerk shall file an affidavit to that effect and shall specify in the affidavit the acts of search and inquiry made by him in an effort to ascertain the reputed owner's street and post-office address and the affidavit shall be retained as a permanent record in the office of the clerk and that action shall be noted on the tax sales record.  If the clerk is still unable to ascertain the reputed owner's street or post-office address after making search and inquiry for the second time, then it shall not be necessary to issue any additional notice but the clerk shall file an affidavit specifying the acts of search and inquiry made by him in an effort to ascertain the reputed owner's street and post-office address and the affidavit shall be retained as a permanent record in the office of the clerk and that action shall be noted on the tax sale record.

     For examining the records to ascertain the record owner of the property, the clerk shall be allowed a fee of Fifty Dollars ($50.00); for issuing the notice the clerk shall be allowed a fee of Two Dollars ($2.00) and, for mailing the notice and noting that action on the tax sales record, a fee of One Dollar ($1.00); and for serving the notice, the sheriff shall be allowed a fee of Thirty-five Dollars ($35.00).  For issuing a second notice, the clerk shall be allowed a fee of Five Dollars ($5.00) and, for mailing the notice and noting that action on the tax sales record, a fee of Two Dollars and Fifty Cents ($2.50), and for serving the second notice, the sheriff shall be allowed a fee of Thirty-five Dollars ($35.00).  The clerk shall also be allowed the actual cost of publication.  The fees and cost shall be taxed against the owner of the land if the land is redeemed, and if not redeemed, then the fees are to be taxed as part of the cost against the purchaser.  The failure of the landowner to actually receive the notice herein required shall not render the title void, provided the clerk and sheriff have complied with the duties prescribed for them in this section.

     Should the clerk inadvertently fail to send notice as prescribed in this section, then the sale shall be * * *void voidable upon suit by the record owner at the time of the sale or the heirs, successor or assigns of the said record owner and the clerk shall not be liable to the purchaser or owner upon refund of all purchase money paid.  In addition the land owner may redeem any property up to the time the tax deed is issued.

     SECTION 2.  Section 27-43-4, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     27-43-4.  With respect to lands sold for the nonpayment of municipal taxes, both for ad valorem and for special improvements, the municipal clerk shall issue the same type notices and perform all other requirements as set forth in Sections 27-43-1 through 27-43-11, inclusive, and for so doing, the municipality shall be allowed the same fees as set forth in said sections.  However, all certificates or affidavits of the municipal clerk shall be filed with the chancery clerk of the county in which the municipality is located for which the chancery clerk shall be allowed a filing fee of One Dollar ($1.00) per affidavit or certificate.

SECTION 3.  (1)  Any board of supervisors or governing authority of any municipality may offer to any Medicare eligible employee of the county or municipality supplemental compensation, insurance and/or benefits if the employee chooses to secure Medicare coverage in lieu of participating in any county or municipal medical or health insurance program, as the case may be.

     (2)  Before the supplemental compensation, insurance and/or benefits may be provided to the Medicare eligible employee as specified under this section, the employee must provide verifiable proof that he or she has secured coverage under Medicare.

     SECTION 4.  Section 27-35-143, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     27-35-143.  (1)  The board of supervisors of each county shall have power, upon application of the party interested, or by the assessor on behalf of such party, or otherwise as prescribed in Sections 27-35-145 through 27-35-149, to change, cancel or decrease an assessment in the manner herein provided at any time after the assessment roll containing such assessment has been finally approved by the * * *State Tax Commission Department of Revenue, and, except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of this section, prior to the last Monday in August next, under the following circumstances and no other:

           * * *1.(a)  When the same property has been assessed more than once to one or more persons.

           * * *2.(b)  When a clerical error has been made in transcribing the assessment from the tax list to the assessment roll, or from the assessment roll to the copies, or in amending the original assessment roll, in making the equalization of assessments, or in carrying out the instructions of the * * *State Tax Commission Department of Revenue.

           * * *3.(c)  When an error in addition or multiplication has been made in the compilation of the tax list, roll or copy of the roll.

           * * *4.(d)  When there is an assessment of property which never existed, or was not owned by or in the possession of the party to whom assessed, on the next preceding tax lien date.

           * * *5.(e)  When the assessment is in the name of another than the owner of the property on the next preceding tax lien date.

           * * *6.(f)  When the assessment is so indefinite as to give a vague or imperfect description of the property assessed.

           * * *7.(g)  When the property assessed is nontaxable, or was not subject to taxation on the next preceding tax lien date.

           * * *8.(h)  When the property is not liable to a special district tax levy for which it has been assessed.

           * * *9.(i)  When the property, after the next preceding tax lien date, but before the payment of taxes due thereon, has ceased to exist, on account of death or destruction by fire, explosion, storm, flood, earthquake, lightning, or other inevitable accident or act of Providence; or has depreciated in value on account of any such accident or occurrence as the foregoing.

     Provided, however, that where property has been insured the amount collected as insurance by reason of such loss shall be taken into account by the board in reducing the assessment, or refunding any tax payment thereon.

           * * *10.(j)  When the assessment does not show the correct number of acres, actually in the property described, or the correct quantity of any property.

           * * *11.(k)  When lands have been assessed and incorrectly classified; or when buildings and improvements have been assessed which were not on the land, at the preceding tax lien date; or where the buildings and improvements, at the preceding tax lien date, were exempt from assessment and taxation.

           * * *12.(l)  When the property has been assessed for more than its actual value; but in such cases the board shall require proof, under oath, of such excessive assessment by two (2) or more competent witnesses who know of their own personal knowledge that the property is assessed for a higher sum than its true value.

           * * *13.(m)  When the property has been assessed as subject to state taxes and is exempt; or when the property has been assessed as subject to county and district taxes and is exempt from such taxes.

           * * *14.(n)  When buildings and improvements have been assessed with the land, but are owned by someone other than the owner of the land.

     (2)  The assessor shall make an application on behalf of the party interested if the assessor has knowledge of any circumstance or occurrence described in subsection (1)(i) of this section regardless of whether the party interested has made such an application.  If the assessor fails to make such application, the party interested may make an application with the board of supervisor not later than eighteen (18) months after the date of the accident or occurrence described in subsection (1)(i) of this section, and the board of supervisors may change, cancel or decrease the assessment. 

     SECTION 5.  Section 27-35-135, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     27-35-135.  When the land roll is ordered by the board to be declared in force for the year following the year in which it was made, the assessor shall assemble, for presentation to the board, all necessary information which is obtainable with respect to the taxable real property in the county, and shall present to the board at its July meeting his recommendation of the changes which include the addition of buildings not on the roll, changes in ownership, subdivisions of tracts of land, and destruction of buildings, and other information which is pertinent to the circumstances enumerated in Sections 27-35-143 and 27-35-147, or as may be requested by the board, to enable it to make such changes as will cause the taxes to be charged to the person or property liable therefor, and to fix the assessments of property according to the value thereof, to the end that all property shall be assessed and taxed uniformly and equally.  The board shall proceed to consider the land assessment roll along with the personal property assessment roll as is required by Sections 27-35-83 and 27-35-87, Mississippi Code of 1972, in the same manner as is done in the year in which the land roll is made.  The board shall make a record of its changes, and if expedient the board may prepare, or have prepared, new pages to replace any page or pages in the roll where changes are so numerous as to cause confusion and uncertainty in the description of any property and of any individual assessment.  The pages which are replaced shall be marked void by the clerk, who shall place the new pages in the roll at the place in the roll immediately following the pages marked void, and shall certify copies of the new pages, one (1) to the tax collector, and one (1) to the Tax Commission.  The tax collector and the Tax Commission shall place the pages received in their respective copies of the roll.

     The board shall publish a notice to the taxpayers as required by Section 27-35-83 that the roll is open for inspection and shall meet and hear objections as provided by Sections 27-35-89 and 27-35-93.  When all objections have been heard, the board shall approve finally, by order, the roll as so corrected and revised, and the clerk of the board shall prepare a new recapitulation and a new certificate for the corrected roll and deliver one (1) copy to the tax collector and one (1) copy to the State Tax Commission.  The roll so approved shall be the legal roll, and the values thus fixed shall be the legal value of the property described for the payment of taxes, and it shall be the duty of each and every taxpayer to pay his taxes thereon according to such value.

     SECTION 6.  Section 27-35-145, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     27-35-145.  Any person desiring a change in assessment as provided in Section 27-35-143 shall make, in writing, an application in duplicate to the board of supervisors of the county where such assessment is made (or the tax assessor of the county may make such applications for him) on the forms prescribed, setting forth the grounds for the reduction, change, or cancellation claimed.  At any meeting, either regular, special, or adjourned, the board of supervisors may hear and determine the matter and shall require such evidence as, in its opinion, is necessary to substantiate the application.  If the board approves the application it shall adopt an order setting forth its conclusions, which order shall be dealt with as hereinafter provided.  The State Tax Commission shall prescribe and furnish the forms necessary for complying with the provisions of this section.

     SECTION 7.  Section 27-35-149, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     27-35-149.  It shall be the duty of the board of supervisors in carrying out the provisions of Sections 27-35-143 through 27-35-147 to make such changes in assessments as will cause the taxes to be charged to the person or property liable therefor, and to fix the assessments of property according to the true value thereof, to the end that all property shall be assessed and taxed equally and uniformly.  In all cases, the board shall adopt an order and enter the same on its minutes, and shall show in its order the page and line of the assessment roll where such change or correction is made.

     Upon receipt of the order (and application, if one be required), the clerk of the board of supervisors shall transmit a certified copy of the order to the tax collector of his county and shall file the application as a record in his office.  No assessment shall be increased or decreased and no credit to or charge against the tax collector of any county on account of such increase or decrease shall be entered by the Auditor of Public Accounts or by the county auditor except as shown by an order adopted by the board of supervisors as provided herein.  All changes in assessment made under the provisions hereof shall be entered on the proper line and page of the assessment roll in force, and the clerk and tax collector shall keep the proper record of all such changes, increases or decreases.  Nothing in this and Sections 27-35-143 through 27-35-147 shall be construed to affect or modify any law with reference to the assessing of property which has escaped taxation in former years.

     SECTION 8.  Section 27-37-27, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     27-37-27.  When the assessor and chancery clerk shall receive the roll or schedule of land from the state tax commission, as provided by Section 27-37-21 of this article, in the years in which land is not assessed, or after the completion of the roll in land assessment years, they shall present the same to the board of supervisors, and the board shall carefully compare it with the land assessment roll of the county. It shall be the duty of the board of supervisors of each county in which any of such lands are located, to require the assessor to prepare proper petitions for the cancellation or change of assessments as provided by Section 27-35-143, Mississippi Code of 1972, and the board shall proceed to adopt proper orders as required by Section 27-35-149, Mississippi Code of 1972, so as to cancel all assessments against land owned by the United States for the purposes set forth in this article, and to assess to the proper owners any lands which are taxable to individual owners. All such petitions prepared by the assessor shall be acted upon by the board, proper orders adopted, as herein provided, and the same submitted to the tax commission for its approval or disapproval, to the end that all lands which are exempt from assessment shall be so shown on the roll, and all parties properly assessed with the lands owned, and the tax collector credited with any assessments with which he may be charged, and which are cancelled or reduced.

     SECTION 9.  A failure to give the required notice to such lienors shall render the tax title voidable as to such lienors, and as to them only, upon suit by the lienor or the heirs, successors or assigns of the lienor and such purchaser shall be entitled to a refund of all such taxes paid the state, county or other taxing district after filing his claim therefor as provided by law. (Section 27-43-11, Mississippi Code of 1972)

     SECTION 10.  No purchaser of land at any tax sale, nor holder of the legal title under him by descent or purchase, shall have any right of action to challenge the validity of the tax sale. (Section 27-45-27, Mississippi Code of 1972)

     SECTION 11.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2019.


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