Appeal from the 238th District Court Midland County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. TX13799
consists of: Bailey, C.J., Stretcher, J., and Wright, S.C.J.
M. BAILEY CHIEF JUSTICE
appeal concerns a claim for excess proceeds from a tax sale.
In a single issue, Appellant asserts that the Midland Central
Appraisal District (the District) failed to comply with the
notice requirements of Section 34.03 of the Texas Tax Code.
See Tex. Tax Code Ann. § 34.03 (West Supp.
2018). We affirm.
did not pay ad valorem taxes on property he owned in Midland
County from 2010-2013. On September 17, 2014, the District,
on behalf of the Midland Independent School District, the
Midland County Hospital District, and the Midland College
District, filed a lawsuit to collect delinquent taxes on the
property. Midland County appeared in the case as an
intervenor. On December 15, 2014, the trial court entered a
judgment finding a tax delinquency of $2, 910.03. The
district clerk subsequently entered an order of sale on
January 16, 2015. Appellant's property was sold at a tax
foreclosure sale on March 3, 2015. The sale resulted in
excess proceeds of $10, 389.27, which were deposited in the
registry of the trial court.
district clerk issued Appellant a Notice of Excess Funds on
April 23, 2015. As set forth below, the notice included a
prior version of Section 34.04 of the Texas Tax Code.
See Tax § 34.04 (West 2015). The district clerk
mailed the Notice of Excess Funds to Appellant by certified
mail. Appellant signed for the notice on May 2, 2015.
April 19, 2017, Appellant filed a Petition for Release of
Excess Proceeds and Notice of Hearing. On May 24, 2017, the
District filed a Motion to Withdraw Excess Proceeds from the
Tax Sale. The District alleged that Appellant did not timely
file his petition for release of the excess funds within two
years of the date of the tax sale. The District also filed an
Objection to the Defendant's Petition for Release of
Excess Proceeds, asserting that Appellant's petition fell
outside the two-year period prescribed by the Tax Code as
measured from the date of the tax sale.
hearing, the trial court denied in part and granted in part
Appellant's Petition for Release of Excess Proceeds and
granted in part the District's Motion to Withdraw Excess
Proceeds from Tax Sale. In this regard, Midland County
declined to receive its pro rata share of the excess proceeds
and agreed to allow Appellant to receive the share that the
county would have been entitled to receive from the excess
proceeds. Accordingly, the trial court ordered the district
clerk to pay to the District the remaining portion of the
excess proceeds. The trial court subsequently denied
Appellant's motion for new trial. This appeal ensued.
sole issue, Appellant asserts that the district clerk failed
to comply with the notice requirements of Section 34.03
because the clerk sent a copy of an older version of Section
34.04 in the notice. Appellant also contends that the notice
given by the clerk deprived him of due process under Article
1, section 19 of the Texas Constitution by failing to provide
him with the date of the tax sale. We disagree with both
resolution of an issue requires the court to construe
statutory language, we apply a de novo standard of review to
the statute's construction. MCI Sales & Serv.,
Inc. v. Hinton, 329 S.W.3d 475, 500 (Tex. 2010);
Entergy Gulf States, Inc. v. Summers, 282 S.W.3d
433, 437 (Tex. 2009). Excess proceeds from tax foreclosure
sales are governed by Sections 34.03 and 34.04 of the Tax
Code. Section 34.03(a) requires the clerk to send written
notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the
former owner of the property regarding excess proceeds from a
tax sale. See Tax § 34.03. Section
34.03(a)(1)(C) requires the clerk to "include[ ] a copy
or the complete text of [Section 34.03] and Section
notice provided by the clerk to Appellant contained a
recitation of the text of Sections 34.03 and 34.04. The
recitation of Section 34.04 in the clerk's notice
provided as follows for subsection (a):
(a) A person, including a taxing unit, may file a petition in
the court that ordered the seizure or the sale setting forth
a claim to the excess proceeds. The petition must be filed
before the second anniversary of the date of the sale of the
property. The petition is not required to be filed as an
original suit separate from the underlying suit for seizure
of the property or foreclosure of ...