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Hill v. County of Gila

Supreme Court of Arizona

November 25, 1940

GEORGE M. HILL, Appellant,
v.
COUNTY OF GILA, State of Arizona, a Body Politic and Corporate, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Gila. C. C. Faires, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Mr. D. E. Rienhardt and Mr. George M. Hill, for Appellant.

Mr. Edward Y. Weeks, County Attorney, for Appellee.

Mr. Ben C. Hill, Amicus Curiae.

OPINION

Page 378

[56 Ariz. 319] ROSS, C.J.

On March 12, 1938, the plaintiff, George M. Hill, offered to purchase of the county treasurer of Gila County the state's tax certificate of purchase, covering lot 5, block 77, Globe Townsite, and tendered in payment thereof the sum of $415.36 plus $216.44, being interest at 10 per cent. Per annum on the amount for which the property sold to the state, to date of tender. At the same time he tendered such treasurer the additional sum of $1,530.56, the full amount of subsequent taxes, without any interest, and fifty cents for making the assignment. The treasurer refused to accept the tender and demanded the additional sum of $395.07, being interest at 10 per cent. per annum on subsequent taxes, as a condition precedent to the assignment of the certificate.

Thereafter plaintiff paid the county treasurer the sum of $2,557.43, being the total of the above sums, for the state's certificate of purchase and subsequent taxes, but he paid the $395.07 under protest, claiming it was in excess of the amount the law required him to pay. This action was brought against Gila County to recover such sum, and whether plaintiff should succeed involves the construction of certain parts of the revenue laws of the state. The lower court was of the opinion plaintiff was not entitled to recover, and this appeal is prosecuted from a judgment to that effect.

The question is controlled by sections 15-58, chapter 103, Laws of 1931, and amendments thereto, prescribing the procedure for the collection of delinquent [56 Ariz. 320] taxes. Section 20 thereof provides that the county treasurer shall sell, at public sale, real property of his county for delinquent taxes and charges and, in the absence of bids for the property by private parties, that it shall be struck off to the state "for the amount of such taxes, interest, penalties, and charges" and that "a certificate of purchase, as provided in other cases" shall issue to the state. It was under the provisions of this section that the state, in 1932, acquired the certificate in question.

Section 25 provides that when the property is sold to the state the rate of interest on redemption shall be in all cases 10 per cent. per annum and in other cases the interest shall be at the rate agreed upon by the purchaser, but in no event more than 15 per cent.

Section 29 provides that the certificate of purchase shall recite the amount of all taxes, interest, penalties and charges for which the property was sold, together with the rate of interest payable thereon in order to redeem, and further provides that the purchaser, whether the state or a person, may assign the certificate and all rights thereunder.

Section 30 makes it the duty of the county treasurer, when the holder of a tax certificate desires "to pay any subsequent taxes," to "endorse thereon the amount of such subsequent taxes paid."

Section 31 makes it the duty of the county treasurer, when property is sold to the state, to sell and assign the certificate to any person who will pay him "the whole amount then due under such certificate, including interest, penalties and charges" and "in addition pay the whole amount of any subsequent taxes assessed... and the further sum of fifty cents for making each such assignment."

Plaintiff's contention is that the phrase in section 31, "the whole amount of any subsequent taxes assessed," means without any interest, penalties or [56 Ariz. 321] charges and that he was relieved thereby from paying anything except the taxes, interest, penalties and ...


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