Tax deeds and conveyance documents

The House Judiciary Committee heard SB 524 concerning tax deeds and conveyance documents, sponsored by Rep. Steuerwald. This bill provides that when a county auditor sends out certain notices for a tax sale by certified mail, the notices must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. The bill also requires that a verified petition for a tax deed to real property acquired in a tax sale must include copies of various notices sent by the petitioner, copies of certified mail mailing receipts, copies of certified mail return receipts, returned mailing envelopes, and evidence used by the petitioner to ascertain the owner of property and any other persons with a substantial property interest of public record in the property. The bill also provides that a tax deed is not prima facie evidence of the validity of a tax sale, if the petitioner for the tax deed fails to include with the petition the copies of notices, copies of mailing receipts, return receipts, returned mailing envelopes, and copies or descriptions of the evidence used to ascertain the owner and other persons having a substantial property interest of public record in the property. It also provides that a tax deed that does not comply with certain filing requirements is validly recorded, regardless of when it is recorded.

An amendment was introduced concerning serial tax delinquencies, which was adopted by consent.  A second amendment was introduced concerning the exemption of certain documents from production, and a third amendment was introduced allowing a tax deed to act as prima facie evidence of a sale in certain instances. Extensive discussion and testimony from the Marion County auditor, a local tax attorney, the Association of Indiana Counties, and an attorney from the probate, trust and real property section of the Indiana State Bar Association was received.  There was no vote on the second or third amendments, and the bill was held.

Read the bill at http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/524.