OF JUDGMENT: 10/04/2017
WINSTON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. JOSEPH KILGORE JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JAMES H. ARNOLD JR.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: ROY GREGG ROGERS
GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ.
This appeal concerns the Winston County Chancery Court's
denial of a petition to set aside a tax sale of property
owned by Patricia Rush, located in Winston County,
Mississippi. Patricia applied for a homestead exemption on
the property in 2012. Her completed and filed application
shows Patricia as the taxpayer, James H. Rush as her spouse,
and Patricia's marital status as "married."
Patricia signed the homestead exemption application and
certified under penalty of perjury that the information it
contained was correct. Patricia's 2013 homestead
exemption was subsequently denied due to a charge-back for
her ad valorem taxes due to James Rush's outstanding
state income tax liability. Mississippi Code Annotated
section 27-33-63(2) (Rev. 2010) establishes that no claimant
for homestead exemption is eligible for the exemption if the
claimant or claimant's spouse fails to comply with income
tax laws of the State of Mississippi. When Patricia failed to
pay the $551 in ad valorem taxes assessed for year 2013 due
to the homestead exemption charge-back, Patricia's
property was auctioned to R & D Properties LLC, at an
August 2014 Winston County tax sale. The record reflects that
Patricia was duly notified of her delinquent ad valorem
taxes, the tax sale, and her right of redemption, but she
failed to redeem her property within the time prescribed by
After expiration of the redemption period, however, Patricia
filed a petition to set aside the tax sale in chancery court.
At the September 2017 hearing on her petition, Patricia
focused on how she completed her homestead application,
instead of addressing the statutory requirements to obtain an
exemption from her ad valorem taxes. She testified that when
she filed for her homestead exemption, she told the clerk in
the tax assessor's office that she was married, but that
she and James Rush were "not together" because he
had left her for her cousin. Patricia argued that because she
was separated from James Rush, she was not responsible for
his income tax liability. According to Patricia, the clerk
mistakenly marked her marital status as "married"
instead of "separated," and this error allegedly
caused the tax assessor to wrongly deny her 2013 homestead
exemption based on James Rush's income tax liability.
Based on these circumstances, Patricia argued that the tax
sale of her property was invalid and should be set aside.
Observing that Patricia had certified the validity of the
information in her homestead exemption application under
penalty of perjury, and that Patricia had been notified of
the tax sale as required by law, the chancery court denied
Patricia's petition and confirmed the tax sale as valid.
Patricia appeals. Finding no error in the chancery
court's denial of Patricia's petition and
determination that the tax sale was valid, we affirm.
OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Patricia Rush owned property located at 3096 Highway 14 West
in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi. She acquired the
property through a 1998 quitclaim deed from Leroy Triplett.
At that time she was known as Patricia
Triplett. She subsequently married James H.
Rush. In March 2012, Patricia applied for a
homestead exemption on the property. Her completed and filed
homestead exemption application contains the following
Patricia A. Rush and her social security number are typed on
line 1 -Taxpayer.
James H. Rush and his social security number are typed on
line 2 - Name of Spouse.
Line 5 - Marital Status lists five options: Married, Widowed,
Separated, Divorced, and Single. "Married" is
checked on Patricia's application.
Patricia signed the application, certifying that the
information it contained was correct, as follows:
I do attest and affirm to the best of my knowledge and
belief, under penalty of perjury, that the statements made
and the answers given are true and correct as of ...