Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Michigan Uses Forclosure Process To Steal Property Over Small Tax Debts


Source: Pacific Legal Foundation

In the state of Michigan, county governments can evict people from their own homes and sell their homes for a profit if the homeowner pays even a little bit under what they ‘owe’ in property taxes. Case in point, Oakland County foreclosed on Uri Rafaeli’s rental property and sold it for $24,500 because he underpaid his property taxes by $8.41, but the county pocketed the entire profit from the sale and left Rafaeli with nothing. In a similar case, Oakland County foreclosed on Andre Ohanessian’s home and sold it for $82,000 because he owed $6,000 in taxes and penalties. In this case too the county kept the entire profit from the sale, again taking more than what the homeowner actually owed them in taxes. Local governments in Michigan use foreclosure laws much like civil forfeiture except the victims of the theft aren’t even accused of a crime. The problem with property taxes aside, no one should be forced to pay more than what they owe for local services. Taking more than what you are owed is theft, even when the government does it. Furthermore, the takings clause of the fifth amendment explicitly prohibits the deprivation of property rights without just compensation. This requires county governments to pay back in full any amount over what is owed.

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