In some States the recorder is required by statute to refuse to accept a deed for record until the county auditor shall have certified that the taxes upon the land have been paid. There is a difference of opinion as to whether taxes paid to enable the owner of land to have his deed recorded may be recovered as paid under compulsion. In Minnesota a recovery is allowed, the Supreme Court saying, in State v. Nelson:2
"The inducements which the law thus imposes upon a grantee of lands to pay a tax of inconsiderable amount, rather than suffer his title to valuable lands to be thus jeopardized, may well be deemed to amount to compulsion. The coercion is certainly as real, and of substantially the same nature, as in the case of a distress of goods. Indeed, men of ordinary prudence would not generally hesitate to pay at once such a demand as is involved in this tax, rather than to incur the risk of losing their entire estates by not placing their deeds on record."
But the Supreme Court of Michigan, notwithstanding its liberal attitude in the case of taxes paid to prevent a threatened sale of land (ante, Sec. 239), has expressed, in Weston v. Luce County,1 its disapproval of the decision in State v. Nelson. The two cases are distinguishable, however, in that the taxes were paid by the owner, in Weston v. Luce County, not to enable him to record the deed by which he acquired title, but in order that a deed by him to a prospective purchaser might be recorded. Conceding that this makes the case somewhat closer than State v. Nelson, it is believed that a recovery ought to have been permitted, since the knowledge of a prospective purchaser that he would be unable to secure the recordation of his deed without the payment of the tax would undoubtedly operate to lessen the price obtainable for the land.
1 See Tozer v. Skagit County, 1904, 34 Wash. 147; 75 Pac. 638.
2 1889, 41 Minn. 25, 29; 42 N. W. 548. Accord: Oakland Cemetery Assn. v. County of Ramsey, 1906, 98 Minn. 404; 108 N. W. 857; 116 Am. St. Rep. 377.