Recent Developments Regarding Tax Deeds  written by Rich Jones
You may have been hearing the buzz about current issues with the issuance of Tax Deeds by the county treasurers.  Some treasurers’ offices are declining to issue tax deeds while other counties are continuing with “business as usual.”  What the heck is going on???

On May 23, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court in Tyler v. Hennepin County, Minnesota, 143 S. Ct. 1369 (2023) considered the constitutionality of Minnesota’s property tax deed system. Hennepin County took title to the property for delinquent taxes and subsequently sold the property keeping $25,000 more than the amount owed in delinquent taxes. The Supreme Court held that it violated the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because the county kept the surplus in excess of the tax debt.

Colorado Attorney General Philip Weiser issued Formal Opinion 23-01 on July 23, 2023, in which he opined that Colorado’s tax deed system described above may, in certain circumstances, constitute an unconstitutional taking in violation of the Takings Clause of Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The Opinion did not, however, propose a remedy nor guidance to county treasurers. Each county decides for itself how to proceed but it is understood that the majority of county treasurers have decided to follow current Colorado law until there is a statutory change.

On September 28, 2023, the City and County of Denver filed a complaint for declaratory relief (Case #2023CV32847, City and County of Denver District Court). Denver is requesting the Court to determine the constitutionality of the tax deed process as contained in Title 39 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

The Association will continue to work with the Task Force to propose a statutory solution to eliminate the potential unconstitutional provisions in the current tax deed process and keep our members updated.