How you can lose your home over an erroneous $44 tax bill you didn’t know anything about
According to the Post, of more than 200 homeowners in the District of Columbia who lost their homes to tax-lien foreclosures in recent years, one in three owed less than $1,000 in taxes.
Here’s what’s happening.
Tax delinquencies are being sold to predatory collection companies and hedge funds — many of them run by former executives for J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America who know how to use the rules to foreclose quickly on your home.
The goal of these tax-lien foreclosure investors and hedge funds is NOT to collect the tax, but to make it impossible for you to pay your tax so these investors can quickly foreclose on your home to make a huge killing.
The way they do this is they buy tax delinquency liens from the government (often a modest delinquency that you might not even know about) and they immediately tack on interest, penalties, and attorneys fees.
Tacking on the attorney fees they supposedly spend to collect the alleged tax delinquency is the real kicker.
These attorney fees typically run about $300 per hour. So your $44 tax bill can quickly mushroom into a $5,000 or even $10,000 three-alarm fire.
Remember, these tax-lien foreclosure investors are not trying to solve your tax problem. They don’t care about the $44 you owe the government. What they want to do is quickly to turn your $44 tax problem into an unmanageable $10,000 crisis (by piling on attorney fees) so they can quickly foreclose on your $300,000 home (as happened to Daisy Dolsey).
So your $300,000 home is stolen legally over a $44 tax issue — that might be an error by your municipal government’s tax office.
The victims of this legalized theft are typically the elderly and the infirm who might be suffering from Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. This can also easily happen to soldiers returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan — especially if they’ve been wounded and are hospitalized or are suffering from PTSD.
But it can happen to almost anyone.
The Washington Post reports that . . .
A 58-year-old bank employee almost lost her house in 2010 because the tax office mistakenly sent bills and notices to a wooded lot across from a strip shopping center in Virginia.
A 69-year-old hat designer was given the wrong payoff amount and had to go to court to save her home.
According to the Post, one in five District of Columbia tax liens was sold to tax-lien foreclosure investors . . . BY MISTAKE! The DC tax office is so disorganized and dysfunctional that tax payments are routinely credited to the wrong taxpayers, or not credited at all.
Files of taxpayers with alleged tax delinquencies (many of them erroneous) are then sold to these predatory foreclosure investors.
The District of Columbia describes how this horrifying tax-lien auction program works here.
What’s happening in the District of Columbia is especially egregious. But we’re seeing the same trend in other municipalities — where local governments are strapped for money and are looking for every and any way to collect boatloads of quick cash. The biggest pot of cash you likely have is in your home.
You can’t hide your home in your mattress. You can’t move your home overseas. Your home is a big fat target for local governments and clever tax-lien foreclosure investors.
So, if you think of your home as a pretty “safe” investment,” think again.
Your home is a big fat stationary target — up for grabs.
Tax-lien foreclosure investing has become a huge multi-billion-dollar business in America.
As detailed by CNN, one of the leading buyers of tax liens in the so-called Fortress Investment Group — a $53 BILLION “alternative investments” hedge fund. ”Several times a year, municipalities in 28 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, auction off scores of property tax liens, also called certificates, to investors,” reports CNN.
These tax-lien auctions have become like Piranha feeding frenzies for tax-lien foreclosure investors.
This is how your $44 tax bill can end up in the hands of these predators, then quickly mushroom to a $5,000 or $10,000 delinquency after attorneys fees are tacked on. You must then either pay, or lose your home. These predators hope you can’t pay your bill, so they can scoop up your home. It’s an evil business.
These people are experts on the rules and laws. They’ve argued thousands of tax-lien foreclosure cases in court. They know how to game the system.
These predators, of course, know that most Americans can’t afford to pay lawyers $300 per hour to fight these sharks in court.
Could your home soon be seized by parking ticket investors over parking tickets you haven’t paid that you might not even know about — that you might not even owe?
This is one reason why America is quickly becoming like a Third World country.
Who will want to buy property if it can be seized over an erroneous $44 tax bill?
“Crony Capitalism” Has Become an Enormous Threat to Liberty
I used to be a big supporter of privatization — the contracting out of government functions to private companies as a way to save money because the private sector is so much more efficient than government. Clearly the government must use private companies. The government is incapable of building fighter planes or making computers — can’t innovate or make much of anything.
But privatization and public-private sector partnership are fraught with peril. I’m starting to see public-private partnerships — “crony capitalism” — as a huge threat to liberty.
More and more, we are seeing government partnering with the more efficient private sector to shake down, abuse, and even imprison the American people.
With the explosion of private prison companies (which contribute truckloads of cash to the campaigns of judges running for judgeships) is it any surprise that one of every hundred Americans is now in jail or prison? Is it any wonder that we have more Americans per capita in prison than any other country in the world — more than Cuba, more than the Soviet Union under Stalin?
Google and the big Internet and mobile device companies have now been coopted by the NSA, the CSA, and law enforcement agencies to track and spy on the activities of every American, including monitoring your bank account (another quick source of cash for the government). We now learn that the federal government is tracking 80 percent of all credit card transactions. The government is collecting and storing all your emails, cell phone conversations, and Internet searches.
What we are seeing is the rapid evolution of government (at all levels) into an ultra-efficient mafia operation. But I much prefer the mafia. The mafia only requires 10 to 20 percent of your business as the price for protection.