Question: I filed chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1/2007 and debt was discharged in 4/2007. Fulton County Superior Court is now listed effective 2/10 with a tax lien against me on a property that I surrendered in 1/2007.
This property was sold to a real estate company in 4/2007 and to my understanding the bad tax debt was supposed to go with the property.
Am I liable for this debt if the mortgage company for this property was notified that I was surrendering the property? Fulton County was not notified because for whatever reason the tax debt was not showing when I filed bankruptcy in 1/2007.
Answer: Hello and thank you for visiting creditmashup.com. I must apologize for the delay in response; I was on vacation for the last week.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and your question should be addressed to your bankruptcy attorney or a real estate attorney. I can only offer the following advice:
Contact Fulton County and check your state laws regarding property taxes. I believe you are correct in assuming property taxes should follow the property and not the owners. The buyer takes title of the property subject to all property tax liens assessed against the property and the delinquent taxes along with all penalties in order to clear title.
For some reason Fulton County has placed the property tax liability on you instead of placing a lien on the property. I think this action is rare because typically when a bank or lender forecloses on a home they bring the back taxes current in order to take possession of the property.
However, if you purchased your home through a non-profit housing agency which assists first-time buyers in providing financing or low interest rate loans, then the non-profit is exempt from owing taxes and the taxes are passed onto you.
That would be one reason for a tax collector to transfer the tax liability from the secured roll to the unsecured roll which makes it a personal tax lien that can remain on your credit reports until it is paid.
Another reason may be the property value. Generally nonpayment of taxes can only be enforced by foreclosure of the tax lien and there is no personal liability for the tax lien. The taxes may be transferred to the “unsecured roll” by the county tax collector if the value of the property secured by the lien is not sufficient for the amount of taxes that are due. In this case, the taxes can be personally assessed to the taxpayer without foreclosure of the tax lien.
The only way I see you unfolding this mystery is to call the Fulton County Tax Collector and inquire whether the property is on the secured roll or unsecured roll. They should be able to make sense of why the tax lien was personally assessed to you instead of the property. The best of luck to you