I live in the United States and I owe taxes to the state, which I'm not able to pay. I don't have a permanent residence and live with family/friends.

One of my family members received a letter stating their property will be seized. They don't have any financial affiliation with me. Is it possible for the state to seize someone's property if I lived there — even though they have no financial affiliation with me?

  • Is this a personal income tax debt? Does it say it is seizing real estate or merely property located at a particular address belonging to you? Did you own it at any time in the past?
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


The government cannot seize property because a person residing at that property has a tax debt: the debtor has to have a legal interest in the property, which you say you don't have. The government can seize property under the practice of civil forfeiture, which is a legal dispute between law enforcement and property – the simplest way to put it is that the property itself has "done wrong" (is involved in illegal activity). That's not what tax debt is.

It is possible for the state to seize property in error, so just because the state makes a mistake somehow does not mean that the state cannot file the paperwork and seize the property if the owners ignore the summons.

  • 6
    It's also possible that the impending property seizure doesn't relate to the OP at all, but instead is grounded in some other obligation owed by those who own the property. Seeing the letter (with personal info redacted) would help. Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 19:19
  • 12
    Could also just be a scam
    – Hilmar
    Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 20:02
  • 3
    @Exocomp I don't see how. Even if I'm right, however, not taking action may cause things to get very much worse. Thus, you should consult with a lawyer right now about this. Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 0:56
  • 13
    I know you think it is not a scam but you never know: scammers are much smarter than you'd think. I would stop by the town offices and ask them if there are really property taxes owed. do not under any circumstances use any contact info on the letter. Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 4:00
  • 3
    @Exocomp: post a redacted image of the letter then. Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 4:39

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