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$6 tax bill costs widow her home


Unhappy at its near-namesake’s monopoly as the home of horror stories, Battisti’s plight shows Pennsylvania is playing catch-up

While Transylvania is the legendary home of Count Dracula, it is the US state of Pennsylvania that has thrown up a new horror story. A Pennsylvania judge has ruled against a woman who lost her home because of an outstanding $6.30 interest charge for the late payment of school taxes.

Eileen Battisti, a widow from Pennsylvania, told the Associated Press that she will appeal the decision.

"I paid everything, and didn't know about the $6.30," she said. "For the house to be sold just because of $6.30 is crazy."

The dispute is centred on the payment of 2008 school district taxes (plus penalties and interest). Battisti submitted those payments six days late, in early May 2009, incurring a $6.30 interest penalty as a result. Battisti claimed she was never informed of the penalty amount.

Battisti is seeking to appeal the decision on the grounds that she has struggled to assume responsibility for financial matters that were handled by her husband up until his death in 2004. She also cited "physical and emotional challenges" as extenuating circumstances that have caused her to "be tardy in paying taxes", including serious physical injuries that befell the family and the murder of her son's college friend.

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