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Small claims court assistance

Discussion in 'Small Claims & Municipal Court' started by Tom Smith, Sep 18, 2022.

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  1. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am about to file a small claims case, but I am not 100% sure I have all the info and what I should call it.

    I sold my house and paid the estimated taxes on it from the prior year. The contract stated if there was any difference the buyer/seller agree to adjust any differences between themselves, but the buyer is refusing to pay the difference.

    I was awarded zero taxes due to being a disabled veteran and the buyer is taking this exemption for themselves even though they are currently in the military.

    I have all the paperwork showing this and I have tried to work with the buyer, but they refused and even said I was trying to extort money from them.

    What would I call them when I file? I would say theft but I am sure it is something else. Also besides the amount and court costs is there anything I should file for?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    If that is actually what the contract states, word for word (I doubt it), then the buyer is well within his rights to refuse to pay you anything. Your contract needs to be reviewed by an attorney who can tell you what the actual obligations of each party are.
     
  3. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Here is what it says:

    "In the event actual taxes for current year are determined to be more or less than the figures used by settlement agent for estimates or prorations or by lender for tax escrow, seller and buyer agree to adjust any differences between and among themselves and/or lender, and to hold settlement agent harmless for any liability therefor"

    Any leg to stand on with that?

    I would figure it would be simple to prove that I paid taxes and after I did I was awarded a zero-tax exemption.

    Thanks for the quick reply!
     
  4. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Law are different State to State...What State are you in?
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If you're planning to file your lawsuit in Colorado, based upon what you've posted, yours is a garden variety "contract dispute".

    Your lawsuit appears to be based upon a breach of your alleged contract.

    What is the precise amount of the monies you think are owed to you by the other party?

    The amount matters, based on the law of Colorado, small claims lawsuits max out at $7,500.

    What is the maximum dollar amount for a small claim lawsuit in Colorado?

    The maximum amount is $7500 for a claim. If the claim amount exceeds $7,500 you may waive the balance over that amount and stay in Small Claims Court. However, you will not be able to collect the amount you waived. You are not allowed to divide the claims into multiple cases.

    Colorado Judicial Branch - Self Help - Small Claims Cases
    ...
     
  6. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am in Texas.

    The amount of taxes in quesion are $2,500.00.
     
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I'm finding it unclear as to what happened. Rather than go back and forth question and answer please upload a copy of your settlement statement, all pages. Looks like this:

    Fill-able HUD-1

    Your escrow company may have used their own form. Redact any identifying information.

    Also confirm that you were exempt from paying property taxes for the years prior to the sale date.
     
  8. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Here is the settlement along with the tax proration agreement and the notification from the tax office. The notification was after the closing or this would be a bit simpler, but it was back-dated.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    That means that you agree to settle the matter between the buyer, seller and/or the lender without holding the settlement agent liable for any of it. It in no way states that the amount is to be split in any particular way.
     
    army judge likes this.
  10. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Law Topic Starter New Member

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    With that in mind the zero-tax for when I owned the house was my personal exemption. I paid in good faith, the buyer should be paying taxes for it. That of course is common sense. Is there any legal basis for a small claims court case? I mean in reality he is stealing a disabled veterans benefits which I would think could even be a criminal case, but I just want to get it figured out/settled. I even offered to negotiate the amount, no luck...
     
  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You can choose to negotiate.
    The other party can choose to ignore you.
    Your wants and needs only matter to you.
    How can the buyer steal the taxes you paid?
    You paid taxes to a governmental unit, not a citizen.

    I fail to see your beef, unless it has to do with hurt feelings.
    You are free to speak to several Texas licensed attorneys, of which I'm one.
    I'm also a veteran, a retired Texas district Court Judge, a retired O7 after 35 years of service, along with being a recipient of a DSC, 3 silver stars, 2 bronze stars, and THE participation award: LOM.

    I hope you receive satisfaction, and/or come to a mutually agreed upon accord.
     
  12. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I tried to negotiate, they are ignoring me now.

    The way I see it the taxes were paid for what was expected on 1/2 the year during closing.

    The taxes were zero'd out with MY exemption, thus there was supposed to be a refund, but as it was for 1/2 a year the tax authority only sent the bill for the 1/2 a year that was still owed. I tried to get the tax authority to assist, but as the taxes were paid they didn't care.

    That is my thinking, if there are holes feel free to poke them. I am not 100% certain or I would not have posted, I greatly appreciate any feedback!
     
  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If there are five parties involved in a transaction and only one party feels aggrieved, the situation generally tends never to be corrected.

    WHY?

    The others are happy.
    When people are happy, most tend not to care about the one who is unhappy.


    The other parties seem unmoved.
    This example plays out everyday all across this land.
    If you're the only one caring, very little (if anything) will change.

    The others are happy with the way this transaction played out.
    You're unhappy, or displeased.
    The time to proclaim your unhappiness has passed.
    About all you can do now is accept the reality of all that has transpired.
    Going forward, don't rely upon the law to make you whole.
    Very often it can't, it won't, or is incapable of helping you.

    Help yourself, citizen, by being selective as to with whom you conduct business.

    If you have doubts or concerns, the best time to announce them is BEFORE you sign on the dotted line and release your money!!!
     
  14. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yea, I figured the tax authority would refund me....

    Talking about it did help me figure out where the problem is, which is the tax authority.

    I decided to wait on small claims court and contact my state house rep/senator in both where I live now and where the house sale was...not sure which one would be the best bet, but hopefully one of them can pressure the tax authority to do their job correctly.

    Thanks for your input!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
  15. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You closed on the house July 8 2021.

    Paying your pro-rated share of the taxes that you owed before the exemption. January 1 through July 8.

    On August 5 you got the exemption retroactive to December 1, 2020 and for the 2021-2022 tax year.

    Sorry, Tom, you have no case against the buyer. The buyer did nothing wrong. You will lose any lawsuit against him.

    If the tax agency isn't cooperating, you'll have to deal with that somehow.
     
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  16. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the timeline, @adjusterjack.
    For the OP: You expect to have received a refund less than 6 weeks after the exemption was approved? SMH. It took me nearly 16 months to get a refund on the last property-related taxes I overpaid. You may simply need to be patient while awaiting your refund.
     
  17. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I talked with the tax authority and expected a refund, but they explained they gave the owner the exemption so there was nothing they could do, it was my problem. I have started a state congressional inquiry....hope that works.
     
  18. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    About what? This is a contract dispute.
     
  19. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am a bit unclear then. A prior person said I had no chance in small claims court. The only paperwork I have that talks about the taxes is the one form saying the buyer and seller will adjust it among themselves.
     
  20. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    That paperwork is ONLY stating what I told you before: That means that you agree to settle the matter between the buyer, seller and/or the lender without holding the settlement agent liable for any of it. It in no way states that the amount is to be split in any particular way.

    You are free to avail yourself of court to try to remedy this matter, but your beef is NOT with the buyer, rather, it's with the taxing agency that should be sending a refund for the overpaid taxes. That is why you were told you have no case against the buyer.

    Tell me...what did the buyer do wrong?
     

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