Widow loses home over $6.30 bill

Let this be a lesson: pay your taxes on time. And pay attention to the notices.

In Beaver County, Pennsylvania, a judge has upheld the local authorities’ decision to sell Eileen Battisti’s home because she owed $6.30 in interest on a school taxes bill. Her home, valued at $280,000 was sold at auction for just $116,000, USA Today reports.

“I paid everything, and didn’t know about the $6.30,” she said. “For the house to be sold just because of $6.30 is crazy.”

Her payment of taxes was six days late, which prompted the interest bill.

Battisti and her husband, Anthony, bought their home in 1999. Five years later, he died, leaving her with the household finances and taxes, which he had handled. She paid off the mortgage from his life insurance but fell behind on property taxes.

In appealing the sale, Battisti told the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania that she “has struggled to assume responsibility for the financial matters previously handled by her husband,” in addition to “physical and emotional challenges that have caused her to be tardy in paying taxes.”

Those challenges included “a serious physical injury suffered by her daughter, the murder of her son’s best friend at college, and a serious physical injury that kept Taxpayer out of work for some time.”

Rules are rules, the local tax collector tells the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

“We never want to see any homeowner lose their house to a tax sale — it’s an unfortunate matter, but this case is no different from any other case,” Joe Askar said. “Tax sale law is pretty clear that if you don’t pay your taxes for a two-year period, the sale must proceed.”

Two certified letters were returned as undeliverable, but at least two first-class letters sent by the tax claim bureau were not returned, and the police posted a notice on her front door.