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ROSS APPEAL (11/13/50)

November 13, 1950

ROSS APPEAL


Appeal, No. 206, March T., 1950, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Greene County, Sept. T., 1949, No. 8, in re Return of Sale of Tax Claim Bureau etc. Order reversed; reargument refused December 7, 1950.

COUNSEL

R. W. Maxwell, with him Waychoff, Maxwell & Waychoff, for appellant.

Ewing B. Pollock, with him Lloyd E. Pollock and Pollock & Pollock, for appellee.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Ladner

[ 366 Pa. Page 101]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE LADNER

This is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County making absolute a rule to show cause why exceptions to confirmation of a deed to property sold at tax sale should not be stricken off because filed too late. The facts are not in dispute.

The appellant, Bernice Scott Ross, was the owner of a house and lot in Gray Township, stated at the argument to be fairly worth $3,500. It wa sold July 11, 1949, for $50. at a tax sale for delinquent taxes due for years 1943 and 1944, amounting in all to $29,12. The appellant had acquired this property from the preceding owner, N.C. Park, by deed dated October 16, 1946, duly recorded. Throught ignorance or neglect, a proper search for taxes was not made and the purchaser did not know of the tax delinquency for the years of 1943 and 1944, possibly assuming that because the taxes for 1945 and 1946 had been paid there was no delinquency. However, it appears the assessment which had been in the name of N.C. Park was changed to the name of Bernice Scott Ross in 1947 and she paid the taxes for that year as well as the years of 1948 and 1949.

The delinquent taxes of 1943 and 1944 were returned to the Tax Claim Bureau set up for Greene County as authorized by the Real Estate Tax Sale

[ 366 Pa. Page 102]

Law of 1947, P.L. 1368, 72 P.S. 5860.101 et seq., which proceeded under that Act. A notice of the delinquent tax was sent by registered mail to N.C. Park, the owner of the property at the time the taxes were assessed, at his address in Burton, West Virginia, June 15, 1948, and return receipt received. Also on June 22, 1949, notice of the proposed sale was sent by registered mail to the same party and receipt received from him. No notice however was sent to Bernice Scott Ross, the actual owner of record of the property who lived there from 1946, and who was the assessed owner since 1947. Nor was any notice delivered to the terre tenant nor posted on the premises. Nor did she know anything about the sale or the proceedings until she filed exceptions.

On September 17, 1949, return of sale was filed in the court, but without awaiting the expiration of the full sixty days allowed by section 607c of the Act for filing exceptions, a decree of absolute confirmation of the sale was entered November 5, 1949, i.e., 4. days after the return of the sale. On February 18,1950, Bernice Scott Ross filed exceptions to the confirmation and prayed the court to permit her to pay the delinquent taxes together with costs involved and set aside the sale.

The court below, feeling bound by the provision of 607g of the Real Estate Tax Sale Law of 1947, 72 P.S. 5860.607, which provides in substance that after the sale has been confirmed absolutely, "the validity of the tax, its return for nonpayment, the entry of the claim, or the making of such claim absolute and the proceedings of the bureau with respect to such sale, or the time of holding the sale, or of petitioning court for an order of sale shall not thereafter be inquired into judicially in equity or by ...


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