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Serving
Massachusetts Agencies

Tax Takings

Real Estate Taxes and Municipal Charges

A title dependent upon a proper tax foreclosure proceeding is a new title created by the sovereign, and is absolute. See Ryder v. Garden Estates, 329 Mass. 10, 105 N.E.2d 854. This is true whether the foreclosure is through the land court or by administrative action. See Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 60, Section 79.

With respect to low value (administrative) foreclosures prior to 1986, proceedings in the land court to affirm the foreclosures were generally required by conveyancers, but the proceedings were discretionary only. See Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 60, Section 80B. Since 1986, the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 60, Section 80C, which have the effect of affirming such foreclosures after a passage of twenty years from the treasurer's deed, have been in effect. The statute is constitutional and applies to tax takings and sales made before its enactment. See Lamonyagne v. Knightly, 30 Mass.App.Ct. 647, 572 N.E.2d 1375.

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 60, Section 80C, although effectively removing any objection to a low value proceeding that has not been affirmed in the land court, will not correct a defect in a tax taking which revolves around a faulty assessment or an inadequate description. See Sheriff's Meadow Foundation, Inc. v. Bay-Courte Edgartown, Inc., 401 Mass. 267, 516 N.E.2d 144. However, regarding your inquiry as to the assessment against only "Arthur C. Burgess, Heirs and Devisees," note that an assessment against one of many title holders is proper under Massachusetts law. See Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 59, Section 11 and McManus v. Boston, 320 Mass. 585, 70 N.E.2d 819.