A judge has ruled that a widow who lost her home at auction over a $6 tax bill “had ample notice” to act, even though she paid the entire tax bill, not realizing she owed an additional $6 to cover the interest.
Eileen Battisti says “I paid everything, and didn’t know about the $6.30. For the house to be sold just because of $6.30 is crazy.”
Mind you her whole tax bill wasn’t some egregious sum, she merely owed $235 to the IRS at the time of the home going to auction at 2011.
Beaver County Common Pleas Judge Gus Kwidis wrote “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. Moreover, on Aug. 12, 2011, a notice of sale was sent by first class mail and was not returned.”
Beaver County Chief Solicitor Joe Askar says “the county never wants to see anybody lose their home, but at the same time the tax sale law, the real estate law, doesn’t give a whole lot of room for error, either. It’s bad – she had some hard times, I guess her husband kind of took care of a lot of that stuff. It seems that she was having a hard time coping with the loss of her husband – that just made it set in a little more.”
Battisti said “Yes, I had issues. I’m a widow. I’m raising three kids on my own, trying to put them through college. Yes, it took me a while to get the bill, but I pay my bills. To steal a house for $6 is ludicrous.”
Battisti’s $280,000 home was sold for just $116,000 at auction. She is entitled to $108,039 of that.
Kwidis says “she’s going to get that money, but she’s going to lose her house. All the notice requirements were met. In tax assessment laws, even if I feel sorry for her, I can’t do anything to help her… everyone felt bad about it.”