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Title X TAXATION AND REVENUE

Chapter 141

Effective - 28 Aug 2012 bottom

  141.480.  Tax bill, prima facie proof — court may conduct informal hearings — further duties of court. — 1.  Upon the trial of the cause upon the question of foreclosure, the tax bill, whether general or special, issued by any taxing authority shall be prima facie proof that the tax described in the tax bill has been validly assessed at the time indicated by the tax bill and that the tax is unpaid.  Absent any answer the court shall take the allegations of the petition as confessed.  Any person alleging any jurisdictional defect or invalidity in the tax bill or in the sale thereof must particularly specify in his answer the defect or basis of invalidity, and must, upon trial, affirmatively establish such defense.

  2.  Prior to formal hearing, the court may conduct an informal hearing for the purpose of clarifying issues, and shall attempt to reach an agreement with the parties upon a stipulated statement of facts.  The court shall hear the evidence offered by the collector or relator as the case may be, and by all answering parties, and shall determine the amount of each and every tax bill proved by the collector or any answering party, together with the amount of interest, penalties, attorney's fees and costs accruing upon each tax bill and the date from which interest began to accrue upon each tax bill and the rate thereof.  The court shall hear evidence and determine every issue of law and of fact necessary to a complete adjudication of all tax liens asserted by any and every pleading, and may also hear evidence and determine any other issue of law or fact affecting any other right, title, or interest in or to, or lien upon, such real estate, sought to be enforced by any party to the proceeding against any other party to the proceeding who has been served by process or publication as authorized by law, or who has voluntarily appeared, and shall determine the order and priority of the liens and of any other rights or interest put in issue by the pleadings.

  3.  After the court has first determined the validity of the tax liens of all tax bills affecting parcels of real estate described in the petition, the priorities of the respective tax bills and the amounts due thereon, including principal, interest, penalties, attorney's fees, and costs, the court shall thereupon enter judgment of foreclosure of such liens and fix the time and place of the foreclosure sale.  The petition shall be dismissed as to any parcel of real estate redeemed prior to the time fixed for the sheriff's foreclosure sale as provided in sections 141.210 to 141.810 and sections 141.980 to 141.1015.  If the parcel of real estate auctioned off at sheriff's foreclosure sale is sold for a sum sufficient to fully pay the principal amount of all tax bills included in the judgment, together with interest, penalties, attorney's fees and costs, and for no more, and such sale is confirmed by the court, then all other proceedings as to such parcels of real estate shall be finally dismissed as to all parties and interests other than tax bill owners or holders; provided, however, that any parties seeking relief other than an interest in or lien upon the real estate may continue with said suit to a final adjudication of such other issues; provided, further, an appeal may be had as to any claim attacking the validity of the tax bill or bills or the priorities as to payment of proceeds of foreclosure sale.  If the parcel of real estate auctioned off at sheriff's foreclosure sale is sold for a sum greater than the total amount necessary to pay the principal amount of all tax bills included in the judgment, together with interest, penalties, attorney's fees and costs, and such sale is confirmed by the court, and no appeal is taken by any person claiming any right, title or interest in or to or lien upon said parcel of real estate or by any person or taxing authority owning or holding or claiming any right, title or interest in or to any tax bills within the time fixed by law for the filing of notice of appeal, the court shall thereupon order the sheriff to make distribution to the owners or holders of the respective tax bills included in the judgment of the amounts found to be due and in the order of priorities.  Thereafter all proceedings in the suit shall be ordered by the court to be dismissed as to such persons or taxing authorities owning, holding or claiming any right, title, or interest in any such tax bill or bills so paid, and the case shall proceed as to any parties claiming any right, title, or interest in or lien upon the parcel of real estate affected by such tax bill or bills as to their respective claims to such surplus funds then remaining in the hands of the sheriff.

  4.  Whenever an answer is filed to the petition, as herein provided, a severance of the action as to all parcels of real estate affected by such answer shall be granted, and the issues raised by the petition and such answer shall be tried separate and apart from the other issues in the suit, but the granting of such severance shall not delay the trial or other disposition of any other issue in the case.  A separate appeal may be taken from any action of the court affecting any right, title, or interest in or to, or lien upon, such real estate, other than issues of law and fact affecting the amount or validity of the lien of tax bills, but the proceeding to foreclose the lien of any tax bills shall not be stayed by such appeal.  The trial shall be conducted by the court without the aid of a jury and the suit shall be in equity.  This action shall take precedence over and shall be triable before any other action in equity affecting the title to such real estate, upon motion of any interested party.

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(L. 1943 p. 1029 § 23, A.L. 1949 p. 602, A.L. 2012 H.B. 1659 & 1116)


---- end of effective   28 Aug 2012 ----

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