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House Bill 444 — County property, sale, exchange

House Bill 444 — County property, sale, exchange

Parrish Miller
January 31, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 444 would eliminate a loophole that allows a county to seize property for delinquent property taxes and retain the surplus value rather than return it to the property owner. 

Rating: +1

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

If a property owner has delinquent property taxes, Idaho law allows counties to seize it and use the proceeds to pay off the debt. The county is typically required to return any surplus beyond the debt owed back to the owner. 

Under current law, however, if the county transferred the property to another government entity, the county would not be required to return any surplus back to the owner. 

House Bill 444 would eliminate this loophole going forward by amending Section 31-808, Idaho Code, to clarify that a county cannot use its general authority to exchange property for "property acquired by tax deed on or after July 1, 2024." 

Unfortunately, this provision would not be retroactive or apply to property acquired by tax deed before this date, thus leaving any property owner victimized by this loophole unrestored.


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