Widow Loses Home After $6 Tax Debt Went Unpaid

Image: Widow Loses Home After $6 Tax Debt Went Unpaid

Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 10:08 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A widow lost her home over a $6.30 tax debt in unpaid interest.

"I paid everything, and didn't know about the $6.30," Battisti insisted in response to Pennsylvania's Beaver County Judge Gus Kwidis ruling last week that the widow was given ample notice before her $280,000 house was sold for about $116,000 at a tax auction in 2011, The Associated Press reported.

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"There is no doubt that (she) had actual receipt of the notification of the tax upset sale on July 7, 2011, and Aug. 16, 2011," the judge wrote. "Moreover, on Aug. 12, 2011, a notice of sale was sent by first class mail and was not returned."

"For the house to be sold just because of $6.30 is crazy," added Battisti, who is still living in the residence and says she plans to appeal the decision to the Commonwealth Court. The house is located outside Aliquippa in western Pennsylvania.

An attorney for the purchaser did not return a phone message on Monday, the AP noted.

According to Forbes, Battisti missed the deadline for paying her property taxes back in 2008, leading to a $833.88 tax bill plus penalty and late fees. While Battisti paid the back taxes, she apparently neglected to pay the six day late fee, which amounted to $6.30.

Two years later, Battisti paid her county tax payments and again failed to address the $6.30 late fee from the 2008 tax bill, which had since accrued to $234.72, Forbes noted.

Beaver County Chief Solicitor Joe Askar told the AP that the judge's decision was based on the law.

"The county never wants to see anybody lose their home, but at the same time the tax sale law, the tax real estate law, doesn't give a whole lot of room for error, either," Askar said.

According to Battisti, her husband, who died in 2004, had handled much of the couple's financial paperwork.

"It's bad — she had some hard times, I guess her husband kind of took care of a lot of that stuff," Askar added. "It seemed that she was having a hard time coping with the loss of her husband — that just made it set in a little more."

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