Menu

Property Tax Resources

Dec
29

Great Big Box Win

In The Court Of Appeals Of The State Of Kansas In The Matter Of The Equalization Appeal Of Target Corporation, For The Year 2015 In Sedgwick County, Kansas.

Syllabus By The Court

Continue reading
Dec
13

Cecilia J. Hyun, Promoted To Partner Of Siegel Jennings

Siegel Jennings is pleased to announce that Cecilia J. Hyun has been promoted to Partner. Ms. Hyun has been an associate at the firm for the past ten years and represents taxpayers in all aspects of the property tax challenge process from local review boards through the Ohio Supreme Court, reviews and monitors property tax assessments, and counsels investors on tax implications of acquisition and disposition.

Ms. Hyun is the 2017 President of CREW Cleveland, a chapter of CREW Network, an organization of approximately 10,000 commercial real estate professionals of all disciplines located in 70+ major markets in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. She previously served as CREW Cleveland's Director of Communications and as the chapter's CREW Network Liaison. In the last 5 years, she has been recognized as CREW Cleveland's Member of the Year, received the chapter's Leadership Award, named after founding member Deborah Rocker Klausner, as well as the Member to Member Business Award.

Her articles on property tax issues have been published in the Heartland Real Estate Business, Properties Magazine, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Bar Journal, and the IPT Insider. Her article, "Big-box retail offers property tax lessons for industrial owners" published in the National Real Estate Investor is referenced in the IAAO Library Big-Box Retail Store Valuation Subject Guide.

Ms. Hyun, based in the firm's Cleveland office, received her B.A. from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and her J.D., magna cum laude, from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law. 

Tags:
Sep
18

Jeffrey A. Brown and Thomas E. Sweeney Among Top Ten Property Tax Lawyers

Leading Lawyers℠ names Jeffrey A. Brown and Thomas E. Sweeney among top ten property tax lawyers.

Leading Lawyers℠ Top 10 Layers

Jul
17

APTC Response to IAAO Draft White Paper on Big Box Retail

July 10, 2017

Board of Directors IAAO
IAAO Headquarters 314 West 10th Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64105

Re: Big Box Valuation Paper

Dear Board Members:

I am the President of American Property Tax Counsel ("APTC"), the preeminent organization of real estate tax attorneys in North America. On behalf of the APTC, we offer these comments regarding your Special Committee on valuing Big Box properties.

Our primary concern is that the report is misleading. The purpose of the report does not appear to teach generally accepted appraisal methods but, instead, to advocate for changes to longaccepted definitions of property rights while professing it is a defense of the status quo.

The paper is essentially written as an activist piece designed to give assessors questionable legal arguments to be used in pending litigation to the end of influencing the decisions in those appeals. Whether that scheme is ethical will be addressed later in these comments.

As attorneys, our concern is the accuracy of the legal arguments advanced in the paper. The starting point is to ask the question, "why would the assessor's organization attempt to write a paper addressing legal theory and not one on appraisal methodology?" Again, it appears to be nothing more than an attempt to support new legal/appraisal theories to gain an advantage in pending litigation and to shape public opinion to support a new way of valuing and taxing retail properties instead of valuing the properties in fee simple.

Some decisions cited in the paper are misleading. Often, numerous cases from one state or another were ignored. Decisions that did not support the new narrative from states such as Michigan, Kansas, California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania & Oregon were never even mentioned. But, the paper included cases from Ohio that were all overturned by a statutory change. ln as much as the changes were 3 to 4 years ago, it seems the inclusion of these irrelevant cases was careless or intentional, at worst. The Supreme Court of Ohio recently issued the first decision of a case reflective of the new law. Terraza 8, LLC v. Franklin County Board of Revision, 2017-0hio-4415 (June 22, 2017). The paper, at a minimum, should be corrected and updated on the Ohio cases and include a robust and accurate discussion of the relevant cases ignored by the authors.

A Kentucky case was cited with a notation it was appealed. In fact, discretionary review of that case was denied but the court ordered that case's decision be de-published. lt is inappropriate for the report to cite or rely on a de-published decision.

Another case citation was to a lower level Idaho administrative body but the report reads as if it was a case decided by an appellate court. The Idaho Board of Tax Appeals is not a court. Its decisions are not precedent and are appealed de novo to the District Court. If Idaho does not consider the case to have any precedent, why is it included in the IAAO paper? A similar concern was raised about the citations to non-precedential cases in Florida.

ATPC members also expressed concerns over how the decisions in North Carolina and other states were misconstrued in the report.

Any rational reading of this report would lead to a conclusion that it is not credible because the paper steers one to accept as true that it is a discussion of the current law on the valuation of big boxes. It is not. It advocates for a very significant change in appraisal methodologies and property rights. The IAAO is attempting to legislate through Standards. Any change to the law as to what property rights are to be valued and taxed should be left to each state and respectful of the obligation to value all property in a uniform and equal manner and without regard to the owner or tenant.

Another important concern relates to the ethical issue of whether it is appropriate for the IAAO to interject the organization into pending matters to influence the end results.

The IAAO Code of Ethics suggests that it is not appropriate for the IAAO to do so for many reasons. For instance, the Code provides:

  • "It is unethical for members to conduct their professional duties in a manner that could reasonably be expected to create the appearance of impropriety ...
  • It is unethical to perform any appraisal, assessment, or consulting service that is not in compliance with the IAAO governing documents or the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice ...
  • It is unethical for members to accept an appraisal or assessment-related assignment that can reasonably be construed as being in conflict with their responsibility to their jurisdiction, employer, or client, or in which they have an unrevealed personal interest or bias ...
  • It is unethical to accept an assignment or responsibility in which there is a personal interest without full disclosure of that interest ...
  • It is unethical to accept an assignment or participate in an activity where a conflict of interest exists and could be perceived as a bias, or impair objectivity ...
  • It is unethical to knowingly fail to observe the requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice ... "

There are pending cases across the country on this very issue, including many in the home states of the authors of this report. This paper imbeds the IAAO into pending litigation with no acknowledgment of that in the report. The report is silent on the pending matters where one or more authors are a party. The paper is silent on the conflicts of interest of the authors, the Board of Directors and the organization.

The IAAO, in its amicus brief in the Menard v. City of Escanaba case before the Michigan Supreme Court, said, "Given its significant authoritative status in the appraisal industry, all appraisers are encouraged to follow the standards in the Appraisal Institute's treatise, The Appraisal of Real Estate." This report advocates for methods specifically repudiated in the Appraisal of Real Estate, 14 th edition. To adopt the report would be contrary to the pronouncements made by the IAAO to the Michigan Supreme Court and violate of the IAAO Code of Ethics' requirement to observe the requirements of USPAP.

While the APTC strongly disagrees with the paper's definitions and misrepresentations of appraisal methodology, fee simple, property rights vs. contract rights, the applicability of build-to-suit and/or sale leaseback rental and sales information, and many other issues in the paper, the APTC will leave that critique to appraisal organizations such as the Appraisal Institute and those members of the Appraisal Institute with expertise in the fields of appraisal methodology and USP AP compliance.

In summary, the concerns of the APTC relate to (1) the misrepresentation of the law; (2) the appropriateness of the IAAO advocating to change the law of ad valorem taxation and the long accepted definitions; and (3) the ethical issues relating to conflicts of interest and the misrepresentations.

For these reasons APTC formally submits its objections to the IAAO Paper and requests it be withdrawn. The APTC stands ready and willing to participate in any meaningful discussions with the IAAO relative to this issue.

Respectfully yours,
Stephen Paul, Esq.
President, American Property Tax Counsel
Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels
300 North Meridian Street, Suite 2700
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

Tags:
May
01

IPT's 2017 Property Tax Article of the Year

The Institute for Professionals in Taxation has awarded Brent A. Auberry, Esq., Stewart L. Mandell, Esq., and Daniel L. Stanley, Esq. with the 2017 Property Tax Article of the Year Award for their article entitled, “Invalid “Dark Box” Property Tax Claims Misinform Indiana and Michigan Legislatures,” which was published in the July 2016 issue of IPT’s monthly publication, IPT Insider.

Continue reading
Jan
21

APTC Website Redesign Announcement

aptc-responsive-design

APTC is proud to announce the release of our new website. Our new site has been redesigned with a fresh look and new features intended to enhance user experience and make information more accessible across a broad range of viewing devices.

Continue reading

American Property Tax Counsel

Recent Published Property Tax Articles

How Property Valuation Differs for Corporate Headquarters

Lack of data makes for more important conversations between advisors and property owners.

By Margaret A. Ford, Esq.

Corporate headquarters present unique challenges and opportunities in property valuation discussions with tax assessors. Managing taxes on any real estate property requires an understanding of all three traditional approaches to value, but headquarters...

Read more

How to Avoid Excessive Property Taxes

Knowing what to look for in monitoring your assessments can help avoid over taxation.  

By Gilbert D. Davila

As robust occupancies and escalating investor demand in many markets drive up property tax bills for multifamily housing, apartment owners must continue to monitor their assessments to avoid overtaxation. Knowing what to...

Read more

Reduce Property Taxes Through Acquisition and Capital Project Planning

By.Michelle DeLappe, Esq. and Norman J. Bruns, Esq.

Savvy commercial real estate professionals keep property-tax planning on their checklists for acquisitions and capital projects.

Why? Because they know that considering property taxes early can save money and reduce hassle later, whether the project is acquiring a business that owns real estate, developing...

Read more

Member Spotlight

Members

Forgot your password? / Forgot your username?