Property taxes must be paid, and it’s legal for governments to take property to pay an outstanding debt. But the government shouldn’t keep any more money beyond what’s owed. The rest is your property: home equity that you’ve worked hard to build.

In courts and legislatures, Pacific Legal Foundation fights to protect your nest egg and prevent governments from stealing homeowners’ equity.


In courts and legislatures, Pacific Legal Foundation fights to protect your nest egg and prevent governments from stealing homeowners’ equity.

Thirteen States Allow Home Equity Theft

August 29, 2022 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

The Hill: How government encourages property theft in Massachusetts — and homeowners are fighting back

The first time Mark Mucciaccio of South Easton, Mass., remembers hearing of Tallage Lincoln LLC was when he learned the real estate investment company had taken his longtime family home out from under…


The Hill: Massachusetts grandmother lost her savings to tax foreclosure law

When Deborah Foss, a 66-year-old grandmother in New Bedford, Mass., bought her home in 2015, she expected it would be where she would live the rest of her life in comfort and security. But by February…

May 4, 2022 | By BRITTANY HUNTER

John Stossel highlights the home equity theft scheme robbing individuals of their property

John Stossel’s newest video highlights our client Tawanda Hall and unmasks the predatory “tax and take” scheme known as home equity theft.

May 4, 2022 | By CAROL PARK

The Washington Examiner: Wisconsin ended home equity theft. Other states should follow.

The Badger State just became a better place to live and own a home. A recently passed law bans counties from engaging in an unjust practice known as “tax and take” or “home equity theft.”

March 27, 2022 | By JOSHUA POLK

The Orange County Register: Stop home equity theft by the state of California

Property rights are one of the most fundamental constitutional provisions that protect Americans against government abuse. Unfortunately, these rights are regularly under assault by state and local ta…

August 24, 2022 | By BRITTANY HUNTER

Grandmother recovers $85,000 settlement after government gave her house away for pennies on the dollar  

Every great hero comes to a point in their journey where they find themselves down for the count—wounded, downtrodden, and doubting their ability to defeat their formidable foe.    When Pacific Legal Foundation’s communications team first met our hero, 67-year-old Deborah Foss, she was homeless in New Bedford, Massachusetts.   Deborah was in …

May 02, 2022 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

Reverse Robin Hood—How private firms profit from home equity theft

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. That’s the opposite of what’s happening in Massachusetts, where home equity theft allows the state to steal homes from struggling, low-income families and give them to private investment firms.   It should be said: Companies that profit from home equity theft—the unconscionable government prac …

April 18, 2022 | By DANIEL DEW

Wisconsin just took a huge step in protecting private property

Wisconsin has become the latest state to end the unconstitutional practice of equity theft. Equity theft is a scheme that allows governments to settle an unpaid tax debt by taking a person’s private property—and all the equity it has accumulated. Governments often sell that property to private investors, who make windfall profits at the owner’s …

April 01, 2022 | By BRITTANY HUNTER

One woman is now living in her car after Massachusetts stole her home

Sixty-seven-year-old Deborah Foss has spent the winter living out of her car in New Bedford, Massachusetts. If you’ve ever experienced a Massachusetts winter, you know it has the power to chill you to the bone. It’s not ideal weather for anyone to endure, but imagine spending the coldest months of the year camped out in …

March 11, 2022 | By BRITTANY HUNTER

This nursing assistant lost her home and her husband to Michigan’s home equity theft scheme

Tawanda Hall is a Michigan-based nursing assistant and a mother of four. For nearly a decade she raised her family in a home she and her husband, Prentiss, purchased in the city of Southfield. When they bought the house, it was damaged and in desperate need of repairs. Together, the family moved in and set …

December 13, 2021 | By ANGELA C. ERICKSON

Report: Massachusetts Homeowners Lose Millions in Home Equity Theft Racket

Massachusetts is one of a dozen states that still practice home equity theft: When a homeowner owes a tax debt, no matter how small, the local government can force a foreclosure and keep the full selling price of the home—leaving the homeowner with nothing. A new Pacific Legal Foundation report, Violating the Spirit of America: …

December 09, 2021 | By BRITTANY HUNTER

An unconstitutional Massachusetts practice robbed one family of seven decades of memories over a $2,000 tax bill

There is so much to a home that extends beyond its physical walls. A home is a place where families gather to break bread, celebrate holidays, and plant their roots. It is a place where our most cherished memories are made. A home also offers families financial security. The home that shelters is also the …

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