Nearly all states have been faced with the increasingly difficult problem of what to do with the growing volume of tax delinquent land which has been thrown upon their hands. As a typical example of the financial aspects of this problem, Michigan in 1928 had over $25,000,000 worth of delinquent taxes on 8,757,000 acres of property. In 1932 this acreage was estimated at 15,660,000. By 1937 the unpaid taxes in some of Michigan's counties exceeded five times the assessed value of the delinquent properties. Much of the property could not be sold for the amount of taxes owed, and the increase in the number of delinquencies meant a corresponding decrease in the property producing tax returns. The more unpaid taxes accumulated on any particular parcel, the more difficult it became to sell that property for back taxes. Finally the legislature in 1937 adopted the State Land Board Act, a unique statutory plan for administering tax delinquent property and hastening its return to private ownership. In 1939 over 600,000 parcels of land became the state's in fee simple absolute and the act commenced to function.
This comment will discuss (1) the mechanics of the act's operation; (2) the constitutional issues involved; (3) the legal problems presented; and (4) the probable effectiveness of the act.
Rex B. Martin,
TAXATION - TAX DELINQUENT LANDS - THE MICHIGAN LAND BOARD ACT AS A SOLUTION TO THE DELINQUENCY PROBLEM,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol39/iss5/7