As Lynn stated, the bank or seller is responsible for the taxes and they need to be paid first before any transfer of title can occur. The taxes owed always puts that debt in what is a "first lien position" before the finance company so in order for them to sell the property, that tax debt needs to be cleared.
To transfer title to property you must have what is called "equitable title". All encumbrances or debt would have to be cleared first.
Hope this helps you,
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Keller Williams - Scottsdale, AZ
2008-2009 Master of Real Estate award recipient