Fines For Not Publishing Unpaid Taxes

Some readers have asked if KSA 19-548 would make the County Treasurer liable for fines for leaving names and addresses off the newspaper publications.

Should any county treasurer neglect or refuse to make and publish the statement provided for in this act, he shall be liable to a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25) for each and every day he shall refuse or neglect to make such publication, to be recovered by an action at law against said treasurer, said action to be brought in the name of the board of county commissioners of the proper county. (KSA 19-548)

The language of this statute appears to refer to the neglect or refusal to make the publication at all. Other statutes appear to address situations where properties were left off of the publication.

Since delinquent properties were published in the paper–even though they were incomplete–this statute probably doesn’t apply.

The only way it could apply would be look at KSA 19-547:

 In addition to the duties required by K.S.A. 79-2101, and amendments thereto, each county treasurer, within 10 days after October 1 of each year, shall cause a statement to be published with respect to unpaid or partially unpaid delinquent personal property tax returns made by the sheriff as of October 1. Such statement shall be published once each week for three consecutive weeks in the official county newspaper or in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in accordance with the provisions of K.S.A. 64-101, and amendments thereto. The statement shall show the name of each delinquent or partially delinquent taxpayer, listed alphabetically, appearing on such returns, followed by the taxpayer’s last known address and by the total amount of unpaid taxes, penalties and costs. The cost of such publication shall be paid from the general fund of such county, and $15 shall be added to the tax due as part of the costs of collection, to be collected in the same manner as provided by law for the collection of the delinquent tax. (KSA 19-547)

One might be able to argue that if the publication wasn’t made according to KSA 19-547, it doesn’t count. However, that would probably be a bit of a stretch. Other statute talk about how the even leaving a property off of the publication doesn’t invalidate it.

One thought on “Fines For Not Publishing Unpaid Taxes”

  1. You have to remember some of those statutes apply to real property and some to personal property. If I remember correctly, both types were on the payment plan and personal property is not even provided for when it comes to payment plans. I think only the AG will be able to straighten this out and give an opinion on exactly what it met by the statutes. What makes it so difficult was that the law was specific that all should be published yet the County Treasurer bypassed that law and that is why there is not a provision there because they were assuming the statutes would be followed under “normal” situations. You know the County is leery of the whole situation because they are only sell that old, stale listing of real estate that no one ever wants. Hopefully, the AG investigation will be complete soon. Can’t wait!

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