TLC 77374

January 17, 1990

Middlesex, ss.



The City of Melrose has made a taking for nonpayment of taxes against the defendant, Joseph A. Pisarri, a Massachusetts attorney; Mr. Pisarri disputes the accuracy of the City's computation of the amount due from him, and the sole issue in this case is the amount, if any, necessary to redeem.

The parties argued the case before the Court on May 31, 1988, and thereafter each submitted a brief setting forth their position as to payments made and the applicable law. I find for the City of Melrose in the amount which it claimed was due at the time of the original hearing.

The defendant attacks the City's account rendered on several grounds:

1. Application of Payments

The defendant contends that he may direct the City as to how any payment made by him is to be applied. The statute, however, provides differently. Customarily, cities and towns apply any payment made in this area first to interest then due and thereafter to principal, in the same fashion that promissory notes contain this direction. In G.L. c. 60, §62 the legislature has provided that any person with an interest in land taken for the nonpayment of taxes may redeem the same by paying or tendering installments on account for the tax title account, each of which other than the last is to be in an amount not less than 25% of the sum for which the land was originally sold together with the full amount of interest. The General Laws also provide in c. 59, §57 that whenever interest is payable it is added to and becomes a part of the tax.

2. Delay in Application of Payments

The taxpayer also claims that the City was dilatory in crediting payments made by him. It is unclear just when a city or town which is paid by check rather than by cash must credit the account as having been paid. Although there appears to be no obligation on the City to make such a determination until a check has cleared, the time limits which are in question here are so short that the City in any event cannot be faulted.

3. Date Interest Begins to Run

The taxpayer complains that the city charged him interest from October 1, 1982 when the bill was not mailed until November 20, 1982. However, G.L. c. 59, §57 provides that when a tax bill is outstanding for more than thirty days from November 1 if the bill is mailed seasonably or otherwise from the date mailed, as the case may be, interest is to be computed from October 1. The City therefore correctly charged the taxpayer for interest.

The taxpayer also complains that the City is charging interest on its costs, such as the registry filing fee. The statute, however, authorizes the addition of such expenses to the tax title account.

In summary, I have examined each of the arguments made by the taxpayer and find the tax title account as presented by the City accurate. I therefore have made the usual finding as to the amount due and provided for payment no later than February 22, 1990.

Judgment accordingly.