Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in the case of Michael Tracy and Frank McCartan t/a Tyrone Development Company v. County of Chester, Tax Claim Bureau and Tom Swift, Robert E. Plank, Kenneth E. Plank and Howard Boyd, No. 67-P Misc. Term, 1978.
Wayne C. Buckwalter, Cadmus, Patten, Werner and Wood, for appellants.
Frank J. Williams, Hagner and Williams, for appellees.
Judges Rogers, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 335]
Tom Swift, Robert and Kenneth Plank, and Howard Boyd (Swift group) appeal from a decision and order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County setting aside as invalid a tax sale of property owned by Tyrone Development Company (Tyrone). We vacate the order of the trial court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
We must decide under the Real Estate Tax Sale Law (Law)*fn1 if a new address printed on a check constitutes sufficient notice of a taxpayer's change of address, if local tax authorities must provide notice of a tax sale to partners whose names do not appear on tax records, if the failure to complete every item on a return receipt card voids the sale, if the sale price here was inadequate, and if the taxing authorities complied with the Law's posting requirement.
In December of 1974, Michael Tracy, Frank McCartan, and John McGarrigle, trading as Tyrone, purchased a parcel of unimproved real estate in the Borough of Downingtown, Chester County; Tyrone, a registered fictitious name, is not incorporated.
Bureau records listed Tyrone as owner of the property and John McGarrigle's residence, 22 Darby Road, Havertown, Pennsylvania, as the company's address. Tyrone did not pay county taxes assessed for 1975, as well as county and school taxes for 1976. Borough and school taxes for 1975 were paid by checks drawn on Tyrone's account, listing Darby Road as the company's address.
[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 336]
In the fall of 1975, Mr. McGarrigle withdrew from Tyrone, sold his interest to Messrs. Tracy and McCartan and moved from 22 Darby Road to 33 Ralston Avenue in Havertown; the Havertown post office forwarded mail to the new address for one year.
The trial court found that Tyrone paid borough taxes for 1976 with checks bearing the name "Tyrone Development Co., 1003 Hunters Lane, Orland, Pa." Michael Tracy, who resides at Hunters Lane, signed the checks.
In 1976, the bureau mailed a delinquency notice, apparently for unpaid 1975 county taxes, to "Tyrone Development Co. No Individual Named," at the Darby Road address. The post office forwarded the notice to the McGarrigle's residence, with delivery being made to Mrs. Ann McGarrigle. Mr. McGarrigle advised Mr. Tracy of the notice; Mr. Tracy, however, ...