Former Owner of Land Who Did Not Redeem Does Not Have Standing to Challenge Tax Sale

Burns v. Sonador REI LLC, 283 So. 3d 246 (Miss. Ct. App. 2019). Burns failed to pay the ad valorem taxes assessed to his property in 2012. The property was sold to the State of Mississippi at the tax sale. Burns did not redeem the land during the two-year redemption period. In 2016 the State granted a patent to the land to Sonador REI LLC. Sonador REI filed an action in the Chancery Court of Hinds County to confirm the tax title, which was confirmed. Burns filed a motion set the judgment aside. The Chancery Court denied Burns’ motion because Burns failed to challenge the validity of the tax sale. On appeal by Burns, the Mississippi Court of Appeals, in a unanimous opinion by Justice Lawrence, affirmed on the basis that Burns had no standing to challenge the tax sale. Section 29-1-21 of the Mississippi Code provides in relevant part that “courts shall not recognize claims by the original owners, his heirs or assigns after unredeemed lands are sold to the state for taxes.…” Since Burns did not provide any proof that he paid the taxes, did not try to redeem the land, and did not challenge the validity of the tax sale or the Secretary of State’s handling of the sale of the patent, Burns had no standing to challenge the judgment confirming the tax title.

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