PEOPLE v. MAXFIELD

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District Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 2, California.

PEOPLE v. MAXFIELD et al.

Civ. 15291.

Decided: November 01, 1946

Robert W. Kenny, Atty. Gen., and E. G. Benard, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellant. Kenneth W. Kearney, of Los Angeles, for respondents.

The question for decision is whether the State is entitled to the rents, issues and profits earned or collected by the former owner of land conveyed to it in satisfaction of delinquent taxes, such rents and profits having been received by the redemptioner between the date of the deed and the date of redemption. To the second amended complaint demanding an accounting by the taxpayer for such moneys the court below sustained a demurrer without leave to amend. The appeal is from the ensuing judgment of dismissal.

The pleading alleged that on July 1, 1943, the Tax Collector by deeds conveyed five parcels of land situate in Los Angeles County to the State of California for nonpayment of delinquent taxes and that the deeds were recorded in the official records of that county; that the five parcels were redeemed in full on divers dates in the months of February, May and June, 1944; that during the period after the conveyance to the State and prior to the dates of redemption ‘defendants and each of them were the former owners * * * or were in actual or constructive possession of said parcels of real property; that said defendants and each of them took the rents, issues and profits from said parcels * * * during the periods as aforesaid, and have at all times retained said rents, issues and profits,’ the exact amount and value thereof so taken being unknown to plaintiff.

Appellant contends that the state became the absolute owner of the lands and that by virtue of section 3652 of the Revenue and Taxation Code the Controller or any person designated by him is authorized to exact an accounting of the proceeds from tax-deeded property by the former owner, or by any person in possession or having an interest in such lands. Appellant fails to recognize the full significance of sections 4107 and 4112, same code. Section 4107 provides that the redemption receipt issued to the redemptioner on payment of all moneys necessary to redeem (Secs. 4102, 4103, 4104) has when recorded the same effect as a deed of reconveyance, and section 4112 provides that ‘on redemption, the deed becomes null and any interest acquired by virtue of the sale to the State ceases.’ Section 4113 authorizes a redemptioner to bring suit against the state to quiet title to the land redeemed. The very fact that the deed to the state becomes null upon the issuance of the redemption receipt is clearly intended to mean that the state's every demand upon property is complied with when all taxes, interest and penalties incurred by the delinquent taxpayer have been paid. Furthermore, since the statute renders void a deed held by the state it is inconceivable that any sort of action could be based thereon. It is not made void in part or after a particular period, but by redemption is made null for all times. The redemption leaves no rights remaining in the state. List v. Sandell, 42 Cal.App.2d 505, 508, 109 P.2d 376.

The purpose of selling real property to the State for delinquent taxes is not to enable the State to engage in the business of farming or in any other enterprise incident to land. The title conveyed by such sale to the state is not such as is vested in a private purchaser. The object on the part of the State is not to acquire the property. See Anglo California National Bank of San Francisco v. Leland, 9 Cal.2d 347, 353, 70 P.2d 937. Such sale is a mere link in the process of collecting taxes which have been levied for the sustenance of the state. That the sale is not intended to operate excessive hardship upon the taxpayer is indicated by the amount of time allowed before sale to the State and by the modicum of penalties and interest exacted from those in default. It is the policy of the law to grant the delinquent taxpayer such extensions and delays as will render least onerous the burden of citizenship and at the same time to return to the tax rolls such properties as may have been sold for taxes. People v. Gustafson, 53 Cal.App.2d 230, 127 P.2d 627. For the state to levy taxes, provide penalties for delinquencies, which are most likely to occur in years of meagre or no productivity, then to add interest and more penalties in event of sales to the state and thereafter to exact the earnings of the taxpayer on the land in a season of abundance, would smack of a tyranny not usually nurtured by constitutional provisions or by judicial decisions. To disturb the long cherished ideal of liberty in the enjoyment of property without equivalent gains for security would be such a diversion from the tenor of freedom commonly enjoyed as to forbid the experiment.

Judgment affirmed.

MOORE, Presiding Justice.

McCOMB and WILSON, JJ., concur.