West Virginia ~ Property Tax: Joint Tenant Not Entitled to Sole Ownership After Payment of Tax Bill in Full

CCH Tax Day Report

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment of the circuit court which dismissed a taxpayer’s civil action claiming full ownership of real property, partly owned by his sister, on the ground that there was no legal basis for awarding the other owner’s interest to the taxpayer. The taxpayer had paid the full amount of property taxes on the jointly-owned subject property for tax year 2014. Thereafter he filed a civil action claiming that his sister should cede her interest in the property because she had failed to shoulder her share of the tax burden, but this was dismissed by the circuit court. Under the applicable statute, holders of interests in real estate that are not separately assessed who pay taxes on the interest of another in the real estate may be subrogated to the lien of the state on the interest, provided they file their claim with the clerk of the county court within 30 days. On appeal, the Supreme Court observed that the taxpayer did not file his claim in writing with the clerk and had failed to provide a copy of the tax receipt as required by the statute; accordingly, the circuit court was found not to have erred in quashing the civil action.

Mitchell v. Worrell, West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, No. 15-1183, November 18, 2016, ¶401-248

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