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City of Phoenix v. Wayland

Supreme Court of Arizona

April 1, 1946

CITY OF PHOENIX et al.
v.
WAYLAND et al

Appeal from Superior Court, Maricopa County; Dudley W. Windes, Judge.

Affirmed.

Richard Minne, City Atty., and Wm. C. Fields, Deputy City Atty., both of Phoenix, for appellants.

Snell, Strouss & Wilmer, of Phoenix, for appellees.

LaPrade, Judge. Stanford, C. J., and Morgan, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 934

[64 Ariz. 224] LaPrade, Judge.

Appellees, plaintiffs below, filed an action against numerous defendants, among them appellant city of Phoenix, seeking to quiet appellees' title to certain lots in the city of Phoenix. The appellants, answering the suit to quiet title, claimed a lien against the property for taxes levied by the city of Phoenix for each of the years 1929 to 1940, inclusive. The trial court entered judgment quieting title in the appellees as against appellants' claim of lien.

The property involved herein consists of seventeen lots in Churchill Addition, an addition to the city of Phoenix, Ariz. On July 11, 1932, these lots were duly and regularly sold for state and county taxes for the years 1927 to 1930, inclusive, and certificates of purchase issued to the state of Arizona as purchaser, pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 103, Laws of 1931, Art. 8, Ch. 73, A.C.A.1939. On June 24, 1940, treasurer's deeds were issued to the state of Arizona under the provisions of Sections 49, 50, and 51, Laws of 1931, Secs. 73-835, 73-836, and 73-837, A.C.A.1939. Thereafter the board of supervisors of Maricopa County, in the manner required by law, advertised these lots for sale and on June 14, 1943, sold and conveyed them to the appellees.

The appeal comes to this court on an agreed statement of the case and brings in question the relative priority of the liens of state, county, and city of Phoenix taxes, and the status of the lien of city of Phoenix taxes after title to the property has passed to the state of Arizona, the city of Phoenix taxes having been levied against the property prior to the acquisition of title thereto by the state.

We have had recourse to the following adjudicated principles of law in reaching the conclusions herein expressed. Unless restricted by the state Constitution, the Legislature has full power to determine and fix the priority of tax liens. Walker v. Nogales, etc. Ass'n, 28 Ariz. 484, 237 P. 1094; Steinfeld v. State, 37 Ariz. 389, 294 P. 834; Home Owners' Loan Corp. v. City of Phoenix, 51 Ariz. 455, 77 P.2d 818; Holbrook, Town of v. Koury, 50 Ariz. 526, 73 P.2d 698, 51 Am.Jur., Taxation, § 1016.

The Constitution of the state of Arizona places no restriction upon the power of the Legislature to fix the priority of tax liens.

Section 73-506, A.C.A.1939, Sec. 1, Ch. 106, L.1931, provides in part as follows: "Every tax levied under the authority of this chapter upon real or personal property shall be a lien upon the property assessed. * * * The lien shall be prior and superior to all other liens and encumbrances upon the property, except liens or encumbrances [64 Ariz. 225] held by the state of Arizona. * * *"

By these provisions of Section 73-506, the Legislature has given the lien of taxes levied under the authority of Chapter 73, A.C.A.1939 (Ch. 75, R.C.A.1928) a priority and superiority over all other liens and ...


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