Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 67: Taxes and Licenses

Chapter 5: Property Taxes

Part 24: Tax Lien -- Enforcement Generally

TCA 67-5-2415: Notice to taxpayer of suit.

(a) The court shall have jurisdiction to award personal judgment against an owner upon the claim for the debt upon determining that proper process has been served upon such owner. The court shall have jurisdiction to award a judgment enforcing the lien by a sale of the parcel upon determining that any the following actions have occurred as to each owner:

(1) That proper process has been served upon an owner;

(2) That the owner has actual notice of the proceedings by mail or otherwise; or

(3) That constructive notice by publication pursuant to SCSC 21-1-203 and 21-1-204, except as modified in this section, utilizing a description of the parcel in accord with SC 67-5-2502(a)(1), has been given to unborn, unfound and unknown owners and that the plaintiff has made or will make a diligent effort prior to the confirmation of the sale of the parcel to give actual notice of the proceedings to persons owning an interest in the parcel, as identified by the searches described in SC 67-5-2502(c)(2).

(b) Notice shall also be sufficient if received by an owner in time to afford the owner a reasonable period to prevent the loss of owner's interest in the parcel. Such loss shall be deemed to occur upon the expiration or termination of the redemption period established by part 27 of this chapter.

(c) Notice of the pendency of the proceedings as to a parcel constitutes notice of the pending sale of the parcel and vice versa.

(d) If process is to be served upon a defendant, the defendant does not have to receive a copy of the complaint or exhibits. The plaintiff may in lieu thereof furnish to the defendant a notice identifying the proceedings sufficiently for the defendant to determine the parcel which is subject to the delinquent taxes for which the defendant is being sued.

(e) A defendant may file a pleading alleging specific facts establishing any of the following defenses:

(1) That the parcel is not subject to sale for the taxes;

(2) That the taxes have been paid; or

(3) That there has been substantial noncompliance with mandatory statutory provisions relating to the proceedings.

(f) Process may be served either by an authorized process server or forwarded by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, or by any alternative delivery service as authorized by Section 7502 of the Internal Revenue Code, codified in 26 U.S.C. SC 7502.

(g) The return of the receipt signed by the defendant, spouse, or other person deemed appropriate to receive summons or notice as provided for in the Rules of Civil Procedure, or its return marked "refused", "unclaimed", or other similar notation, as evidenced by appropriate notation of such fact by the postal authorities, and filed as a part of the record by the clerk shall be evidence of actual notice.

(h) Prior to confirming the sale of a parcel, the court shall determine that a diligent effort has been made to give actual notice of the proceedings to all interested persons, as identified by the searches described in SC 67-5-2502(c)(2).

History: Acts 1923, ch. 77, SC 8; Shan. Supp., SC 913b17; Code 1932, SC 1951; Acts 1935, ch. 114, SC 1; C. Supp. 1950, SC 1591; Acts 1972, ch. 503, SC 2; 1973, ch. 296, SC 3; 1978, ch. 869, SCSC 4, 6-8; 1981, ch. 125, SC 1; 1983, ch. 307, SC 1; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), SC 67-2012; Acts 1984, ch. 661, SC 2; 1985, ch. 289, SC 1; 1986, ch. 703, SCSC 1, 2; 2012, ch. 979, SC 1; 2013, ch. 353, SC 15; 2014, ch. 883, SC 8.