COA: Auditor complied with notice statutes in tax sale

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a 2013 order by a trial court that tax sale deeds be issued, agreeing that the Marion County auditor complied with the statutes dealing with notices surrounding tax sales.

Floor-Essence LLC was delinquent on property taxes on three adjacent parcels in Indianapolis. Lisa Thomason, the principal of the company, lived at a residence located on property adjacent to one of the delinquent properties. The auditor sent pre-tax sale notices by first class and certified mail; the properties were sold in 2011 to S & C Financial Group LLC. Post-tax sale notices were also sent to Floor-Essence as well as its attorney and occupants of the delinquent properties.

Thomason said she never received any notice and did not learn of the tax sale until a tenant informed her of it. The notices sent certified mail were returned to the auditor’s office, but the first-class mailed notices were not returned. She filed a lawsuit objecting to the sale; the trial court in October 2013 overruled Floor-Essence’s objections and ordered the tax sale deeds be issued.

The Court of Appeals affirmed in In re: The 2011 Marion County Tax Sale, Floor-Essence, LLC v. Marion County Auditor and Marion County Treasurer, 49A02-1311-MI-934, finding the trial court did not err in entering the order. The judges noted the auditor sent the required notices under Indiana statute and the company does not claim that the notices were not in substantial compliance with the statutory requirements. Thomason even testified that she was aware the taxes for at least one of the properties was delinquent.

“[We] find that the Auditor substantially complied with the statutes governing the notices and that the manner of service was reasonably calculated under all the circumstances to apprise Floor-Essence of the pendency of the action and afford it an opportunity to object,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote.


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