(NewsNation) — The Supreme Court is set to hear the case of an elderly woman whose home was seized and sold by the government after a tax debt on her condo grew over $15,000 in penalties, and the case could have ripple effects for homeowners across the country.
Geraldine Tyler, a 94-year-old widow from Minneapolis, had a $2,300 tax debt on her condo. It grew to $15,000 with penalties. A Minnesota county board eventually seized her home, which sold for $40,000.
Tawanda Hall told NewsNation that the same situation happened to her. She said she started a payment plan to start paying her back taxes and the state of Michigan sold the house from under her and kept the equity.
Hall said she was on a payment plan with Oakland County, but the treasurer ended it and she and her family were still evicted.
“I thought we were safe and protected. But, unfortunately, it seemed like a month later, we received eviction notice,” she said.
David Deerson, Hall’s attorney, said these situations are “not surprising” due to how the tax laws are written in Michigan and in Minnesota.
He said Hall’s home sold for about $308,000 despite Hall owing a little over $22,000. Hall received none of the funds from the sale.
The Southfield Non-Profit Housing Corporation sold the property and reimbursed the city for the amount of the tax debt, which then gave the property for $1 to the non-profit’s for-profit company to be sold, according to the Pacific Legal Foundation.