Adequate Notice of Tax Sale

October 5, 2011 | Erin Herbold-Swalwell


In this case, a Missouri corporation sought to set aside a tax sale of a vacant lot it owned, alleging improper service of notice of the sale by the county.  The county first attempted to personally serve the corporation, but ended up serving notice by publication because the parties could not be found. The trial court determined that the county complied with due process by serving the company by publication, and the sale was upheld.  The corporation appealed.  Kansas law favors personal service in situations where the owner’s name and address can be easily found.  Evidence presented at trial showed that the county knew that the company was a Missouri Corporation, but failed to check the Missouri Secretary of State’s website to ascertain the company’s address.  In this case, service by publication violated due process and the Kansas Court of Appeals declared the sale void. The name and address for personal service could “reasonably” be found.  J.A. Tobin Construction Co. v. Williams, et al., No. 104,458, 2011 Kan. App. LEXIS 144 (Kan. Ct. App. Sept. 9, 2011).