Agent

Can Uncle Sam legally steal real estate from divorcée?

Federal tax lien impedes dispersal of sale proceeds

In March 1987, Wilhelmina and Arthur Johnson Jr. were granted a divorce. The divorce judgment said their jointly owned house on Strathmoor Avenue shall be placed on the market for sale. The decree said the net sales proceeds shall be equally divided between Wilhelmina and Arthur with the first $10,700 being awarded to Arthur. About six months after the divorce was final, Wilhelmina divested her interest in the house by a quit claim deed to Arthur. However, Arthur continued living in the house until he died 15 years later. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. While he lived in the house, Arthur incurred $505,784 in I.R.S. tax liens, which were recorded with the local recorder of deeds. After Arthur's death, the house was sold on July 22, 2003, to an unrelated third party for $130,721. Wilhelmina claimed 50 percent of the net sales proceeds. But the I.R.S. claimed the entire sales proceeds, arguing Arthur Johnson Jr. "owned the entire Strathmoor property when the federal tax lien att...