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Property Tax Resources

Each quarter our members take a close look at their local counties and municipalities and review any changes or notable events in the areas of property taxes, tax assessments, personal property tax and other taxation issues, here is the most recent local tax update available.

Jan
01

Alabama Property Tax Updates

UPDATED March 2018

Alabama Legislature Requires Disclosure of Additional Information for Sales Comps in Tax Appeals

In March 2018, the Alabama Legislature passed a bill requiring certain disclosures for those intending to offer sales or lease comparables in tax appeals. SB182, which will be codified as Ala. Code (1975) §40-3-27, requires any party (taxpayer or taxing jurisdiction) introducing a sales or lease comparable in a tax appeal to disclose the following:

(1) whether the proposed comparable property was occupied or unoccupied at the time of the transaction; and

(2) whether the proposed comparable property was subject to any use, deed, or lease restriction at the time of the transaction that prohibits the property, on which a building or structure sits, from being used for the purpose for which the building or structure was designed, constructed, altered, renovated, or modified.

Under the new statute, the party introducing the sales or lease comparable must disclose this information at the time it offers the comparable into evidence. Failing to disclose the information carries a harsh penalty, resulting in the comparable being deemed inadmissible.

The new bill is effective immediately upon execution by the Governor, so taxpayers, counsel and appraisers must diligently review their sales and lease comps to ensure compliance with the new act.

Aaron D. Vansant, Esq.
DonovanFingar, LLC

American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Arizona Property Tax Updates

UPDATED march 2020

COVID-19 Potential Relief for Tax Payments

As of April 10, 2020

The second half of property taxes for 2019 are due by May 1st. If not, individuals will be subject to interest penalties and their property taxes will be considered delinquent. Per Arizona State Law, the Counties do not have authority to extend the May 1st deadline. Extensions and changes in due dates can only be enacted by the legislature. County Treasurers have been asking for property tax relief by extending the deadline for property taxes 30 days (https://www.graham.az.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3956/Treasurer-Joint-Press-Release-Move-Deliquency-Date-PDF). If granted, this would allow individuals and businesses to pay the second half of their 2019 property taxes by June 1st, waiving all penalties and interest for payments made after May 1st.

If you have any questions about the status of this legislative effort or options for appealing your property taxes, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you or your business want to support the Treasurers’ attempt to extend the May 1st deadline, you must reach out to legislators and request property tax relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a link to find your state legislators, and links to the rosters for the Arizona State Senate and House of Representatives. Please note you should call or email the senator and representative over your legislative district.

Find My Legislator:
https://www.azleg.gov/findmylegislator/

District Locator: simply enter your address, it will identify your Congressional and Legislative District. Then click on next link to find the senator (use LEGISLATIVE district)
https://azredistricting.org/districtlocator/

List of Arizona Senators and their Legislative Districts:
https://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster/?body=S

List of Arizona Representatives and their Legislative Districts:
https://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster/?body=H

Property owners may also want to contact the Arizona Department of Revenue to communicate the need for relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic: (602) 716-6843

Mooney, Wright, Moore & Wilhoit, PLLC
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

California Property Tax Updates

UPDATED June 2021

Assessment Appeal Filing Season Opens in California

The season for filing assessment appeal applications on 2021 property tax assessments opens on July 2.  In most of California’s 58 counties, taxpayers have until November 30 to file their appeals.  In ten counties, however, appeals must be filed by September 15.  Those counties include San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura, as well as five smaller and less populous counties.  Applications must be postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service by these due dates in order to be valid.  Assessment appeal applications are available on the websites for the county assessment appeals board or, for smaller counties, the county board of supervisors’ websites.  The appeal applications can be filled-in on-line and, in some cases, the applications can even be submitted electronically.  Note also that many counties now require that a filing fee be provided when an assessment appeal application is submitted. 


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Greenberg Traurig, LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Canada Property Tax Updates

Updated July 2017

New Rules in Ontario

The Assessment Review Board (“ARB”), which provides the first and only level of administrative law review of assessment appeals in Ontario, has changed its rules.

The ARB new rules are effective April 1, 2017. There are 122 rules and several Practice Directions.  Most significantly, all appeals will be grouped as either “General” or “Summary”.  General proceedings have a detailed schedule to be adhered to unless it is altered by the parties with the consent of the ARB. All appeals are deemed to be general proceedings unless they are specified as summary proceedings.  The details include specified hard dates for inspections, productions, examinations for discovery, motions, exchange of witness statements and reports.

All of this means that the litigation before the ARB will be increasingly complex and rule-bound. It is not an area for amateurs. 

J. Bradford Nixon
Nixon Fleet & Poole LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Colorado Property Tax Updates

Updated March 2015

Colorado Begins Its 2015 Reassessment

Bi-annually, Colorado Assessors perform a revaluation/reappraisal for purposes of assessing the value of Colorado property using a “base period” method. In tax years 2013 and 2014, nonresidential property values were based on sales, income and cost data from a “base period” commencing on January 1, 2011 and ending on June 30, 2012. A new “base period” with its likely higher values now comes into play. 2015 is a revaluation year in which Colorado County Assessors will reappraise the value of real property. Under Colorado law, 2015 and 2016 nonresidential property values will be based on sales, income and cost data from a base period commencing January 1, 2013 and ending June 30, 2014.

Given the general upward trend in real estate values since the last base period ending June 30, 2012, many property owners may expect to see an increase in their property values and consequently, their property taxes for 2015 and 2016. The assessors are required by law, absent significant changes in the property after the base period, to use the same value for tax years 2015 and 2016. Even if an appraised value does not increase, budget demands will likely incentivize cities, counties and other taxing entities to maximize tax revenues by increasing the mil levies that determine the assessed value and the resulting tax, to the extent permissible by a Colorado Constitutional Amendment that limits tax increases called the "Tabor Amendment".

Beginning May 1, 2015, County Assessors will mail the 2015 Notices of Valuation for real property. The property owner will have a very short period of time to evaluate these notices and protest the value set on the property. Protests of valuation for most Colorado counties must be filed by May 31, 2015. Protests of valuation for Denver County properties must be filed no later than November 15, 2015. Our property tax attorneys know the critical legal and business factors that affect real property values and classifications. We are prepared to meet with property owners to assist in evaluating their property tax situation and, when appropriate, plan their strategies for their 2015 property tax protests.

Larry R. Martinez, Esq.
Berenbaum Weinshienk PC
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Delaware Property Tax Updates

UPDATED September 2017

Delaware Court Unlocks Opportunities to Reduce Property Tax Burden

Managing expenses is one of the best ways to ensure the long-term profitability of investment properties.  Owners of real property know that achieving reductions in property tax assessments can be challenging under the best of circumstances, and distinctions between state tax systems can make minimizing the real estate tax burden across a commercial or industrial portfolio a daunting task.  But a recent decision by the Delaware Supreme Court provides taxpayers with a new, yet surprisingly familiar, opportunity to reduce the burden of property taxes on their properties in The First State.

Delaware’s tax assessment system shows its age
Under Delaware Law, property must be valued at its “true value in money,” a term interpreted to mean the property’s “present actual market value.”  However, in order to implement the Delaware Constitution’s mandate of tax uniformity, Delaware applies a base year method of assessing property, meaning that all property in a jurisdiction is assessed in terms of its value as of a certain date, then that value remains on the property indefinitely until the jurisdiction performs a general reassessment.  For Delaware’s northernmost county, New Castle County, the last reassessment occurred in 1983, so all property in the County is valued as of July 1, 1983.

A major challenge to contesting property tax assessments in Delaware is that a taxpayer must determine the property’s market value in 1983.  Determining what a property is worth today is not always easy, but proving a property’s value three decades ago has proven increasingly difficult.  Furthermore, because the County makes no regular adjustments to a property’s assessed value, the County asserts that a property should be valued as it existed in 1983 or, if it was built after 1983, as if it is new and undepreciated.

Delaware’s courts have explained that taxpayers have two options in assessment appeals: they can use data from the base year (by, for example, finding sales of comparable properties in or around 1983, or using prevailing market rents and capitalization rates from 1983) or they can calculate the current market value of the property and “trend back” that amount to 1983.  The County Board of Assessment Review has expressed a near-absolute preference for 1983 data, and rarely finds a taxpayer’s trending formula acceptable.

The inequities of this system are blatant.  Under the county’s interpretation of the base year system, a 34-year-old building located next door to a similar new building should be assessed and taxed at the same level, despite that buyers, sellers, and tenants might value the buildings quite differently.  If the owner of the 30-year old building wanted to contest its assessment, the owner would have to identify data for new buildings in 1983.  Of course, as time marches on and years turn to decades, relevant data from the base year becomes increasingly difficult to find.

Taxpayers highlight the system’s obsolescence
Taxpayers have raised many challenges to Delaware’s assessment system, but most successful challenges are fact-specific, and no recent court has gone so far as to order Delaware’s counties to complete a reassessment.  But after several attempts, the taxpayers in Commerce Associates LP v. New Castle County Office of Assessment underscored the largest flaw in the system.

One Commerce Center is an office condominium building in Wilmington, Delaware.  Each office condominium was originally assessed by the County upon construction in 1983.  After keeping the same tax assessment for decades, the owners of several of the condominiums challenged their assessments in 2015.

Before the County Board of Assessment Review, the owners presented five different analyses: two relied on comparable sales transactions (one using 1983 sales of buildings that were about 32 years old, and one using modern asking prices trended back to 1983 using the Consumer Price Index); two relied on income (one using 1983 data, and one using 2015 data trended back to 1983 using CPI); and a cost approach using the original construction costs and reflecting depreciation.  These approaches showed that the properties were overassessed by more than 40%.

The County presented evidence of the condominiums’ sale prices in 1985, when each unit was relatively new.  The County also presented an income approach using 1983 data and a cost approach reflecting no depreciation.  The County’s approaches all supported the original assessed values, and the Board ultimately denied the taxpayers’ appeals.

Delaware’s Court approves a decrease in value
After having their appeals denied by the Superior Court, the taxpayers brought their challenge to the Delaware Supreme Court.  In a tersely-worded decision, the Supreme Court reiterated that all relevant factors bearing on the value of a property in its current condition must be considered.  While the County argued that no depreciation was needed because the properties were brand new in 1983, the Court noted that the properties were, in reality, more than 34 years old.  Failing to account for their age and the resulting depreciation (or appreciation) resulted in a flawed value.

Although the Court’s decision has yet to be implemented by the County, its effects will likely be widely felt.  Most properties in New Castle County built after 1983 are assessed without any depreciation.  Because each tax year brings with it a new opportunity to challenge an assessment, property owners can bring a new appeal to the Board every year reflecting the property’s current depreciation.  Ultimately, this could result in the downfall of the decades-old base year assessment, as the County finds it necessary to update assessments for a larger number of properties.

A number of questions remain unanswered by the Court’s ruling.  How should properties be valued in areas that were rural in 1983 but are now highly developed?  How can appreciation and depreciation be quantified and reconciled?  Future cases will need to resolve these questions, but for now, owners of Delaware property should evaluate their portfolios and determine whether opportunities exist to improve profitability by reducing property taxes.

Benjamin A. Blair
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Florida Property Tax Updates

UPDATED june 2021

100% Property Tax Exemption for Certain Low Income Housing Tax Credit Properties

A new Florida law increases the 50% exemption for certain older low-income housing tax credit (“LIHTC”) properties to a 100% exemption beginning in the 2022 tax year.  Tax exemptions for LIHTC properties have changed often in recent years.  LIHTC properties are financed through the issuance of tax credits and in exchange, the owners agree to restrict the property for a number of years to rent only to tenants that are below certain income thresholds and to charge rent in accordance with the HUD guidelines.

From 2009 through 2013, LIHTC properties were fully exempt. Then in 2013 that exemption was removed and they became taxable, although the restricted rents had to be recognized by the county property appraisers in valuation of the property for tax purposes.  In 2018, the Florida legislature passed a law granting a 50% “discount” or exemption to LIHTC properties after their 15th year of operation, provided that they have at least 70 units. Starting next year, these older LIHTC properties will be entitled to a full 100% exemption.  This change represents a growing recognition that there is a need for more affordable housing.

Julie Schwartz, Esq.
Rennert Vogel Mandler & Rodriguez, P.A.
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Georgia Property Tax Updates

UPDATED june 2021

Georgia Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Tax Exemption Case

The Georgia Supreme Court refused to grant the county board of tax assessors’ petition for writ of certiorari in Fayette County Board of Tax Assessors v. Walmart Stores, Inc., 354 Ga. App. 584, 841 S.E.2d 104, cert. denied, No. S20C1407, ___ Ga. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Ga. Feb. 1, 2021). The Georgia Court of Appeals had affirmed the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment for the taxpayer. The trial court had held that the personal property at issue, self-checkout component parts held for fewer than 12 months and destined for shipment outside the state of Georgia, was not subject to ad valorem taxation because the freeport exemption under O.C.G.A. § 48-5-48.2(c)(3) applied to the property. The Court of Appeals had held that the property fit into the category of finished goods as defined as “goods, wares, and merchandise of every character and kind.” and the property qualified as inventory as a list or quantity “of goods or materials on hand.” The Supreme Court’s denial of the certiorari petition means that the justices did not consider the case to be of great concern, gravity, or importance to the public.

Lisa F. Stuckey
Ragsdale, Beals, Seigler, Patterson, and Gray, LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Idaho Property Tax Updates

Updated june 2020

Looking at Taxable Value Increase Limits

Employees of the Idaho State Tax Commission recently published an analysis of property tax value limits.* Idaho assessors must assess property at market value as of January 1 each year. Unlike some states, there is no cap on how much the value can increase each year. According to the article, this promotes transparency because caps on value mislead taxpayers. Lower taxable values give the illusion of lower taxes. “Taxpayers have nothing to appeal (i.e., their values will not exceed market value),” so they believe they are paying less than without the cap. Caps also place a greater burden on owners of properties whose values are not keeping pace with the increases contemplated by the cap. 

In 2006, Idaho considered adopting a cap. But no property tax changes are on the horizon now. Legislative work is likely done for 2020 (despite recent efforts of some legislators, backed by armed supporters, to convene a special session). And dropping market values makes limits of less interest now. The article, however, provides a thoughtful framework for evaluating proposals for value limits in the future. 

*Alan S. Dornfest, Kathlynn Ireland, and Mark Southard, Taxable Value Increase Limits – Revisited, Journal of Property Tax Assessment & Admin. 49 (Vol. 17, Issue 1).

Michelle DeLappe & Norman J. Bruns
Foster Garvey PC
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Illinois Property Tax Updates

Updated March 2015

The Story of Real Estate Taxes - 2015

Chicagoans should be wary about their 2015 Real Estate Tax Bills. Up to now, Chicago Taxpayers have fared much better than their suburban neighbors when it comes to real estate taxes. Tax Year 2015 may well mark the beginning of a “Perfect Tax Storm” in Chicago.

In 2015, all property lying within Chicago will be re-valued. It seems very clear that the Assessor has determined that the Great Recession has become an event of history and that most segments of the real estate market are well on the way to recovery.

Thus far, new valuation Notices have only been sent to the property owners in one of the eight townships that comprise the City of Chicago. We have been able to review the new values. On average, the assessed values in that township have increased approximately fifteen (15%) percent. Multi-family residential properties have increased beyond twenty (20%) percent, single family residences and condominiums have risen to triple digit increases in some cases. Based on what we have seen in the first townships, we have to forecast even greater increases for most of the other townships.

Real estate values are only one component in the calculation of real estate taxes. The other critical component is the Tax Rate. The Tax Rate is determined by dividing the total budgets of all the Municipal and County agencies which provide services to the public by the total taxable value of the service area. That will include school districts, police, fire, park districts and more.

In 2015 and 2016, the pension deficits of the City agencies are about to reach catastrophic proportions. The Mayor’s staff is looking to Real Estate Taxes to reduce these deficits.

A PERFECT TAX STORM!

James P. Regan
Fisk Kart Katz Regan & Levy, Ltd.
Telephone:  (312) 726-1833
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Indiana Property Tax Updates

UPDATED december 2019

Indiana Tax Court: Under The Income Approach, Fee Simple Interest Must Be Valued Based On Market Rents

Name:  Southlake Indiana LLC v. Lake County Assessor (the decision can be viewed here -- https://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/11251901mbw.pdf)

Date Issued:  November 25, 2019

Property Type:  Retail store

Assessment Years:  2007-2014  

Synopsis:  Taxpayer owns a 90,000 SF two-story, freestanding retail building in Northwestern Indiana, which it leased to a retailer doing business nationwide.  The property was encumbered by a build-to-suit lease, originally executed in 1992 and renewed in 2012. At the administrative hearing before the Indiana Board of Tax Review, the parties’ appraisals developed all three approaches to value but relied primarily on the income approach.  The Indiana Board’s final determination assigned no weight to the appraisers’ sales comparison and cost approaches.  The Tax Court explained, “To determine which appraiser’s estimate of market rent [under the income approach] was best supported, the Indiana Board used its own unique evaluation method.”  The Indiana Board examined 16 leases from the parties’ appraisers, made certain adjustments, and ultimately concluded that the market rents and income approach values offered by the Assessor’s appraiser were more credible.

Observing that Indiana assesses the value of real property – not business value, investment value, or the value of contractual rights – the Tax Court observed: “when valuing a property under the income approach, the fee simple interest in property must be valued based on an estimate of market rent, not contract rent.”  Comparable rental data, the Court further noted, must “represent freely negotiated, arm’s length transactions.” 

Assessor’s appraiser failed to adjust the rental data from the build-to-suit leases upon which his income approach relied.  Accordingly, those leases were not probative evidence of the market value of the subject property’s real property alone.  In contrast, the record evidence showed that Taxpayer’s appraiser exercised caution in using any build-to-suit rental data.  That the build-to-suit rental data “relied heavily on” by Assessor’s appraiser and the Indiana Board  “was neither adjusted nor explained as reflecting market rent” was contrary to law, the Court held. 

Finally, the Court explained that “no reasonable person reviewing the administrative record would find enough relevant evidence to support the Indiana Board’s reconstruction of [the Taxpayer’s Appraiser’s] percentage of gross sales analysis or its resulting conclusions.”  Therefore, the Indiana Board’s final determination also was unsupported by substantial or reliable evidence. 

The Tax Court reversed the final determination and ordered the Indiana Board to determine assessed values based, in part, on market rents derived by the analysis offered by the Appraiser for the Taxpayer. 

- The above facts and summary of the holding are based solely on the information presented in the published opinion issued by the Indiana Tax Court. 

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Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

Declining To Reweigh The Evidence, Indiana Tax Court Affirms Assessments Of CVS Store Based On Cost Approach

Name: CVS Corporation v. Elkhart County Assessor (can be accessed at
https://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/12091901mbw.pdf)

Date Issued: December 9, 2019

Property Type: Retail pharmacy

Assessment Years: 2012 – 2015

Point of Interest: Indiana Tax Court would not reweigh the record evidence, which supported the Indiana Board of Tax Review’s conclusion of value based solely on the cost approach without adjustment for external obsolescence.

Synopsis: CVS challenged the assessments of its nearly 11,000 SF retail pharmacy, built in 2004 and situated on 1.26 acres of land. The County Assessor had valued the property at a range of approximately $1 Million to $1.1 Million for the four contested assessment dates. At the consolidated administrative hearing before the Indiana Board of Tax Review, both parties presented USPAP-compliant appraisals; both appraisers applied all three approaches to value but assigned weight to them differently. For CVS, its appraiser gave most weight to the sales and income approaches, concluding to a range of $800,000 to $890,000. For the Assessor, her appraiser assigned equal weight to each of the three approaches, opining on a value for each year of about $1.8 Million.

The Indiana Board applied the cost approach, without obsolescence. The Indiana Board concluded that the cost approach – absent any adjustment for economic obsolescence – was the most persuasive indication of value for this eight- to eleven-year-old store. The Indiana Board disregarded both appraisers’ sales and income approaches completely, finding them too flawed, and concluded to values of more than $1.2 Million for each year.

The Court will not reweigh the evidence. The Tax Court noted that the Indiana Board is “required to adopt a value based exclusively on evidence in the administrative record,” but it is not obligated to “adopt the same weight afforded to the evidence” that the appraisers applied in their respective reports. The Court further explained that the record evidence supported the Indiana Board’s rejection of external obsolescence. The appraiser for CVS had testified in “vague generalities” about the subject property’s “softer market.” The Assessor’s appraiser, however, presented evidence regarding growth in population, employment and gross domestic product in the local area during the years at issue. CVS was asking the Court to reweigh the record evidence in its favor, something the Court cannot do “absent a showing that the Indiana Board has abused its discretion.” Concluding that the Indiana Board had acted within its statutory authority, the Court affirmed the final determination.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Esq.
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

Indiana Tax Court Affirms Assessment of Vacant Lot Based on Appraisal and Testimony of the Appraiser

Name:  Sheerin v. LaPorte County Assessor (which can be viewed at https://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/12111901tgf.pdf)

Date Issued:  December 11, 2019

Property Type:   Vacant lot

Assessment Year:  2015

Point of Interest:  Appraisal offered by Assessor had minor flaws but sufficiently established a prima facie case supporting the assessed value of a vacant lot. Relying on the appraisal and the appraiser’s testimony, the Indiana Board of Tax review did not abuse its discretion in affirming the assessed value.

Synopsis:  A 6,000 SF rectangular vacant lot, which was zoned residential, was “buildable,” but several issues would make any construction more costly than normal, i.e. it had a “severe slope,” a lack of rear access, the need for septic installation, and a proximity to overhead power lines. Though the County Board had reduced the assessment from $220,000 to $132,000, Owner appealed to the Indiana Board of Tax Review.

Before the Indiana Board, Assessor had the burden of proof. Assessor engaged an appraiser who, relying on sales of three vacant lots, estimated the property’s vale at $160,000 as of January 1, 2015. Owner challenged the comparability of the three sales and claimed the appraiser made other errors. The Indiana Board affirmed the $132,000 assessment despite “minor flaws” in the appraisal, ruling the Assessor had made a prima facie case supporting the property’s assessment, which Owner failed to rebut with probative, market evidence. Assessor had not asked for an increase in the lot’s value.

Before the Tax Court, Owner repeated his arguments from the administrative appeal and asserted that the Indiana Board improperly deferred to the “perfidious” appraisal offered by the Assessor. The Tax Court observed, “When, as here, the Indiana Board determines the evidence presented at the administrative level has probative value, the Court will not reverse its determination that a litigant made a prima facie case absent an abuse of discretion.” Here, the Indiana Board concluded that the appraisal, despite its problems, and the appraiser’s testimony “provided a sufficient explanation of the methods and information used to derive the estimate of value.” Owner did not establish that the Indiana Board had abused its discretion because its final determination “comports with the law and is supported by substantial evidence.” The Tax Court affirmed the Indiana Board’s ruling.

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Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Iowa Property Tax Updates

UPDATED March 2019

The Time to Negotiate Iowa Property Tax Assessments is Now

On April 1, 2019, assessors around the state of Iowa will release their property tax assessment values.  This starts the clock for negotiations.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 441.30, from April 2 until April 25, aggrieved taxpayers may contact local assessors and make an informal request that the assessment be changed.  This can result in a written agreement with the assessor to correct or modify the assessment, or an agreement by the assessor to file a recommendation with the local board of review that the assessment be changed.  Assessors around Iowa take this period seriously.  The time to consider negotiations is now.

Here is a brief overview of the Iowa appeal deadlines:

  • January 1 – Assessment date (Iowa Code § 441.46)
  • April 1 – Assessor’s release assessment values (Iowa Code § 441.23)
  • April 2-25 – Time to negotiate with assessors (Iowa Code § 441.30)
  • April 30 – Iowa Board of Review protests due (Iowa Code § 441.37)
  • Later date of May 31 or 20 days after board of review opinion – Deadline to file appeal with PAAB or district court (Iowa Code §§ 441.37A, 441.37B, 441.38)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Elizabeth Carter
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Kansas Property Tax Updates

Updated june 2021

Two pieces of legislation were enacted into law: HB2104 & SB13

HB 2104: 

The bill makes several clarifications/changes to the property tax appeals process. Including (1)  All appraisals must comply with USPAP; (2) Parties can request electronic service of all correspondence/orders from the Board of Tax Appeals; (3) Your valuation cannot be increased at the informal level or by the Board of Tax Appeals; (4) The burden of proof is on the county in cases filed by the taxpayer to the District Court de novo; (5) IAAO certifications will no longer be accepted as qualifying to be a county appraiser; and (6) All courses for county appraisers must be coursework approved by the Kansas Real Estate Appraisal Board.

 http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2021_22/measures/documents/hb2104_enrolled.pdf

SB13: 

This bill authorizes county treasurers to set up a payment plan for property taxes. The bill also prohibits a valuation increase for normal repair, replacement, or maintenance of existing structures, equipment, or other improvements on the real estate.

http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2021_22/measures/documents/sb13_enrolled.pdf

Linda Terrill
Property Tax Law Group, LLC
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

 

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Jan
01

Kentucky Property Tax Updates

UPDATED june 2021

Third Time is a Charm? Kentucky's State Tax Tribunal "Reorganized" Again

The structure of Kentucky’s state tax tribunal has been shuffled for the third time in five years.  Prior to 2016, all appeals from decisions of the Kentucky Department of Revenue, as well as real property tax appeals from county boards of assessment appeals, were heard by the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals (KBTA).  Kentucky law allows the governor to appoint the KBTA members, but also requires that the terms of KBTA members were to be staggered.  This provided some continuity and stability for litigants, even when the governor’s mansion changed political hands. However, in August of 2016, then-Governor Bevin used an executive order to “reorganize” the KBTA into the Kentucky Claims Commission, removed all three of the KBTA members, and replaced them with his own appointments.  Subsequently, and utilizing the well-known doctrine of “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” Governor Andy Beshear “re-reorganized” the Kentucky Claims Commission back into the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals, removed the three KCC members, and replaced them with his appointments (two of whom had previously served on the KBTA).

The Kentucky General Assembly decided to get in on the act and passed SB 162 in March of 2021.  While SB 162 ratified Governor Beshear’s return to the KBTA as the tax tribunal, the Legislature decided to change the requirements for KBTA members.  While prior law required that one member of the KBTA must be an attorney, SB 162 states that two of the three members, including the chairman, must be an attorney.  As a result, the person appointed by Governor Beshear as chair was forced to resign because she was not an attorney, and confusion reigns as to the new composition of the KBTA.  Until the effects of SB 162 are fully determined, it is unclear how and when state tax appeals will be heard.

Michele M. Whittington
Morgan Pottinger McGarvey

American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Louisiana Property Tax Updates

Updated june 2021

Louisiana Supreme Court issues opinion resulting in big property tax win for industry

On October 20, 2020, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a major decision in an ad valorem (property) tax case.  D90 Energy, LLC v. Jefferson Davis Parish Board of Review, 2020-C-200 (La. 10/20/2020).  This ruling is a key Louisiana tax decision on the scope of authority possessed by Assessors in ad valorem (property) tax matters and for the Louisiana Tax Commission (“LTC” or “Commission”) as a reviewing body. 

In 2012, D90 Energy, a multi-state, independent oil and gas operator, purchased two gas wells and one salt-water disposal well for $100,000.  Facing a fair market valuation by the Assessor of over $3 million, the operator paid $110,000 in taxes under protest for the first two tax years (2013 and 2014) – more than it paid for the property – and appealed the Assessor’s decision. D90 Energy did not pay under protest for the last two tax years – 2015 and 2016 - because it prevailed at the Tax Commission for the first two tax years.

D90 relied upon the purchase price of $100,000.00 for the three wells, until 2016, in which it sought the 90% reduction provided for shut-in wells under LTC Rules and Regulations. The Assessor determined fair market value using tables in the LTC Rules and Regulations providing estimated “cost new” values for well properties, but the assessor refused to consider any adjustments for allowance of economic obsolescence based upon the $100,000 purchase price and the subsequent shut-in of the wells.

The Tax Commission ruled in favor of D90 Energy in three separate hearings covering the four tax years.  The LTC conducted three (3) full evidentiary hearings, heard live testimony and received documentary evidence, made written findings of fact, and issued Reasons for Decision for the four (4) tax years.  In these rulings, the LTC assigned a value of $235,000.00 for each of the 2013-2015 tax years, considering (1) the purchase price of $100,000; and (2) estimated plug and abandon liability costs of $135,000.00 for the three wells. For the 2016 tax year, the LTC arrived at a value of $145,000.00, based upon a 90% shut-in reduction in the purchase price to $10,000.00, and an additional $135,000.00 for the plug and abandon liability costs. For all tax years, the Louisiana Tax Commission reduced the fair market value, heavily weighing a Tax Commission regulation that requires valid, properly documented sales to be considered by an Assessor as a measure of fair market value.[1] 

The Assessor’s suits for judicial review were consolidated by the District Court in Jefferson Davis Parish. The District Court affirmed the LTC decisions, finding no basis to overturn the LTC’s decisions. The Assessor appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeal, which reversed the decisions of the District Court and the LTC and reinstated the Board of Review decisions to set fair market value according to the original denominations made by the Assessor.  The Third Circuit Court of Appeal reasoned that the Tax Commission should have afforded “much discretion” to the Assessor’s determination of value.  As a consequence, the Court of Appeal overturned the LTC’s finding that the arms-length sale price of $100,000, together with future plug and abandonment costs, should be the measure of fair market value.  In addition, for the 2015 and 2016 tax years, the Court of Appeal found that D90 Energy had no right to appeal the fair market valuation because no payment under protest was made for those specific years.  The Assessor filed an exception of no right of action asserting that because D90 failed to pay the disputed tax amounts under protest for the 2015 and 2016 tax years, that it was barred from disputing the valuations and assessments for those years. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted D90 Energy’s writ application to review the Third Circuit’s decision.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal’s decision and reinstated the Tax Commission’s decisions in favor of D90 Energy. The Supreme Court found that the Tax Commission properly corrected the Assessor’s fair market value determination by considering the recent arms-length sale from Goldking to D90 Energy.  The Supreme Court found that the Tax Commission possessed the authority to correct the Assessor’s valuation, and the record evidence supported the correction.  The recent sale, as opposed to regulatory tax tables, was a proper measure of value for D90 Energy’s well properties under the facts.  The Supreme Court also found that the Tax Commission was not limited to reviewing only the information provided to the Assessor, but could take evidence, hear testimony, and consider the administrative record established before it in an appeal of an Assessor’s determination of value. The Assessor argued that he had the sole right to determine fair market value under the La. Constitution, and that the Tax Commission’s valuations deserved no deference. The Supreme Court found that the La. Constitution clearly provided the Tax Commission the right of review and that the evidentiary hearing required by law in an appeal to the Commission indicated that the Commission could hear new evidence as part of the scope of its responsibilities. The Court noted, “If the Commission can only review and consider the evidence submitted to an Assessor, a hearing is meaningless.”

Finally, the Supreme Court addressed the effect of a taxpayer’s failure to pay under protest when it is successful at a Tax Commission hearing, finding that such payment under protest is not required to preserve a taxpayer’s right to dispute a valuation and assessment when the taxpayer prevails before the Tax Commission.

This ruling is a key Louisiana tax decision on the scope of authority possessed by Assessors in ad valorem (property) tax matters and for the Louisiana Tax Commission as a reviewing body. 

[1] “Sales, properly documented, should be considered by the assessor as fair market value, provided the sale meets all tests relative to it being a valid sale.”  See LAC 61:V.907(A)(6)(e).

Angela W. Adolph
Kean Miller LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

Louisiana Supreme Court Holds Taxpayers Could Not Appeal Assessment Directly to Louisiana Tax Commission

The Louisiana Supreme held in Comeaux v Louisiana Tax Comm’n, No. 2020-CA-01037 (La. May 20, 2021) that the Louisiana Tax Commission (the “Commission”) did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal of the taxpayers’ 2017 property tax assessment even though the Commission accepted the appeal as a way to enforce its 2016 ruling for the same taxpayer.  The Court determined that Commission’s assertion of jurisdiction over the appeal violated the Louisiana Constitution because the taxpayers had not first appealed to the parish board of review.

The fair market value of the taxpayers’ property had been lowered by the Commission for 2016 but the Lafayette Parish assessor failed to use the lower value for 2017. The taxpayers went back to the Commission to try and force the assessor to use the lower valuation for 2017 and the Commission ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear the 2017 appeal under La. R.S. 47:1990[1] because it was enforcing its 2016 ruling instead of reviewing the 2017 assessment.  The Commission then determined that the assessor was required to follow the 2016 revised value for 2017.

The assessor appealed the Commission’s decision regarding the 2017 assessment, arguing that La. R.S. 47:1990, as applied by the Commission, was unconstitutional because it violated La. Const. art. VII, §18(D) and (E), which provide that an assessment must be reviewed first by the board of review and then by the Commission and that the parish assessors “shall determine the fair market value of property” for purposes of property taxation.. 

The Supreme Court agreed with the parish assessor, holding that La. R.S. 47:1990 did not give the Commission jurisdiction to review the 2017 assessment because the taxpayers had not first appealed to the board of review.  The court disagreed with the Commission’s argument that it was not “reviewing” the 2017 assessment but instead was simply enforcing its determination regarding the 2016 assessment.

Importantly, however, the Court also found that based on its prior holding in D90 Energy, LLC v. Jefferson Davis Par. Bd. of Review, 2020-00200 (La. 10/1/20), the Commission did not exceed its rulemaking authority in requiring that the assessor apply the 2016 valuation, as determined by the Commission, in assessing the taxpayer for 2017.  The Court reaffirmed that the Commission has the authority pursuant to La. Const. Art. VII, §18(D) and under La. R.S. 47:1837(D) and La. R.S. 47:2323 to establish uniform rules related to appraisal of property, the parish assessors must abide by these rules, and the rule at issue did not unconstitutionally infringe upon the powers of the assessors provided in La. Const. art. VII, §18(D) and did not unconstitutionally conflict with the requirements set forth in La. Const. art. VII, §18(F). 

Angela W. Adolph
Kean Miller LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Maine Property Tax Updates

Updated December 2014

Ignoring The Assessor's Inquiries Can Be Fatal To Your Appeal

In Maine the assessor may require the taxpayer to answer in writing all proper inquires as to the nature, situation, and value of the taxpayer's property liable to be taxed. This request can include income, expenses, manufacturing or generational efficiencies, manufactured or generated sale price trends, or other related information. A taxpayer has thirty days to respond to the inquiring. Upon written request a taxpayer has an automatic thirty day extension to respond to the inquiring. The failure to supply the information will bar the taxpayer the right of appeal. Please be aware that some assessors use this provision of the law to inundate the taxpayer with inquires. The property of some of these inquires is questionable and some inquires appear to be patently improper. These inquires can be a cynical attempt to have the taxpayer's appeal dismissed for failing to comply with an inquiry.

David G. Saliba
Saliba & Saliba
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Maryland Property Tax Updates

UPDATED September 2019

Upcoming 2020 Reassessment and Mid-Cycle Appeal Deadline

Major markets in Maryland set to be reassessed as of 1/1/2020 are Bethesda & Chevy Chase (Montgomery County), Laurel & Bowie (Prince George’s County), Hanover & the BWI Airport area (Anne Arundel County), Mount Vernon & Midtown (Baltimore City) and Towson (Baltimore County).  Even if your property is not set to be reassessed, a mid-cycle appeal can be filed.  It must be noted by January 2, 2020.  Please contact Wilkes Artis to review your property to determine if a mid-cycle appeal is warranted.   

Kevin E. Kozlowski, Esq.
Wilkes Artis, Chartered
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Massachusetts Property Tax Updates

UPDATED june 2021

Fiscal Year 2021 Rapacity Still Has Life

In Massachusetts almost all of the Fiscal Year 2021 property tax bills have been sent. The Fiscal Year 2021 begins on July 1, 2020 and ends on June 30, 2021. In recent years, the Assessors seem to have been sending revised or omitted property tax bills with greater frequency. These revised or omitted Fiscal Year 2021 property tax bills must be completed by June 20, 2021. If a taxpayer receives this unpleasant surprise, he may file for an abatement with the local Board of Assessors within 3 months after the tax bill is sent. Once the June 20 revised or omitted property tax date has passed the assessor must wait until Fiscal Year 2022 to send another property tax bill. This limitation does not apply to personal property tax bills issued after an audit or when there have been improvements to the property that increases the value by greater than 50%.

David G. Saliba, Esq.
Saliba & Saliba
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Michigan Property Tax Updates

UPDATED december 2020

Time to Prepare for Michigan 2021 Appeals

Michigan taxpayers should receive their 2021 assessment notices during the first quarter of 2021, and most taxpayers will have them before March arrives, so taxpayers should be watching for them.  Based on conversations with many assessors, there should be no surprise if the 2021 assessments do not reduce values. 

The Proposal A “inflation rate” for 2021 is 1.4% which means that taxable values (on which taxes are based), will increase where a property’s state equalized value exceeds its taxable value (typically state equalized value and assessed value are the same and required to be half of market value).    For properties that transferred during 2020, no taxable value cap applies for 2021 and these new owners should be particularly aware of the potential for large tax increases, even while the pandemic is still creating so much hardship.

During 2020, due to the pandemic, and the difficulties taxpayers were experiencing, the Legislature extended the Tax Tribunal appeal deadline to August 31.  This was especially helpful to owners of commercial and industrial real properties, many of whom were challenged to timely file appeals by the May 31 deadline.  Taxpayers should not count on being able to obtain additional time in 2021.  Taxpayers, especially those whose properties have suffered because of the pandemic, should be proactive in 2021 and begin working with property tax counsel even before the assessment notices are sent.  Paste or type article here.

Honigman LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Minnesota Property Tax Updates

Updated december 2020

Assessors Struggle with COVID Valuations

In Minnesota, the valuation date for pay ’21 taxes was January 2, 2020.  Assessors have taken the position that COVID impacts for 2021 were neither known nor appreciated at that date, and that pay ’21 tax appeals should not consider the impacts from COVID. 

Now, assessors are faced with making valuations for the January 2, 2021 assessment for pay ’22 taxes, with no argument about the presence of the coronavirus.  Some jurisdictions are asking taxpayers to voluntarily produce sensitive income and expense information about their properties, with the suggestion that cooperation could lead to reduced valuations for the upcoming assessment.

While the prospect of influencing value and taxes downward for pay ’22 is enticing, taxpayers should understand that information they provide may be exposed to other property owners with active tax appeals if used by the assessor or its agent in an appraisal.  Assessors also may misunderstand what property operating information means when it is provide without context.  For example, retail properties have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic.  Tenants have often stopped paying rent, or are paying reduced amounts. However, that information may not be apparent from a rent roll that continues to list face rates pending resolution of the tenancy issues.  An assessor considering this information might assume that impacts on that property have not been significant.

Taxpayers are advised to consult their property tax representatives when approached by an assessing office for proprietary operating information.  Otherwise, they might find their sensitive income information is being used in a way that was not intended.


Mark Maher.
Smith, Gendler, Shiell, Sheff, Ford & Maher
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Missouri Property Tax Updates

Updated June 2016

Personal Property Statute

On August 28, 2015 the Missouri Legislature enacted Section 137.122.1 which requires county assessors to apply the “standardized schedule of depreciation” to determine assessed value of personal property which will be “presumed to be correct.”

Owners may challenge the assessment by presenting substantial and persuasive evidence of value.

It appears many county assessors are resisting using the depreciation concept in setting assessed value. Only time will tell how this plays out.

Jerome Wallach
The Wallach Law Firm
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Nevada Property Tax Updates

Updated december 2020

The coronavirus epidemic and its impact on the valuation of property

The epidemic and resulting closure of businesses has had an enormous effect on the economy.  But, one aspect which is often overlooked is the effect it has had on the value of operating businesses.  We believe it has created an opportunity for many property owners in Nevada to seek a reduction in the taxable value of their property, which in turn, may reduce the tax assessment.

Generally, the taxable value of property is determined using a modified replacement cost approach.  But, the assessor has to reduce that value if it exceeds full cash value, which is usually calculated using an income capitalization approach.  For operating businesses, the assessors usually rely on the revenue and expenses for the preceding calendar year, which this year will reflect the impact of the epidemic and Governor Sisolak’s order closing businesses.  It is, therefore, important to evaluate whether a projected value based on an income approach is likely to warrant an adjustment to the taxable value of your property.

It’s also necessary to evaluate how Nevada’s statutory tax cap is affecting the taxes actually assessed on your property.  The tax cap limits the amount property taxes can increase from year to year and it may already be reducing the taxes assessed on your property.  Consequently, it’s necessary to determine whether the likely taxes to be assessed on a taxable value adjusted for the effects of the coronavirus will result in tax savings in excess of the savings already realized as a result of the tax cap.  If it will, being proactive in addressing your property tax situation can result in meaningful tax savings.

The deadline for filing an administrative appeal to the county boards of equalization is January 15, 2021.  Our property tax attorneys know the critical legal issues and valuation factors that affect the tax treatment of property and are prepared to assist you in evaluating and, if appropriate pursing, a reduction in your property tax assessment.

Paul D. Bancroft
McDonald Carano
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

New Hampshire Property Tax Updates

Updated march 2020

Corona Virus Decreases Real Estate Values

As of March 2020, The Corona Virus also known as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious disruption to the real estate market. In some cases, businesses have closed completely, and some may never open again. Some tenants find it impossible to pay rent. Some landlords cannot make mortgage payments. In New Hampshire the assessing date is April 1, 2020 which is directly in the cross hairs of this horrific pandemic. The filing deadline for Tax Year 2020 is generally March 1, 2021. If your property value has been negatively affected by the pandemic it would be prudent to file an abatement application before March 1, 2021. The application should among other things alleged a reduced market value because of the pandemic. Proving and quantifying the disruption in market value may prove difficult. So often trying to prove and quntify a self-evident reality can prove to be oddly vexing.

David G. Saliba
Saliba & Saliba
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

New Jersey Property Tax Updates

Updated MARCH 2019

New Jersey Tax Court Analyzes Freeze Act Invocation and Waiver

A recent New Jersey Tax Court opinion analyzed whether a tax payer waived N.J.S.A. § 54:51A-8 (“Freeze Act”) protections pursuant to a settlement agreement that expressly invoked Freeze Act application only for the freeze year immediately following the appealed tax year. In 160 Chubb Properties, LLC v. Township of Lyndhurst, the Tax Court held that the taxpayer did not waive Freeze Act application to the second freeze year because Freeze Act protections must be deliberately and intentionally waived. Although the settlement agreement invoked Freeze Act protections for the first freeze year, the agreement did not expressly mention the waiver of application to the second freeze year. Importantly, the Freeze Act is self-executing, thus, invocation is not necessary for its application. Without any indication that the taxpayer requested or agreed to waive Freeze Act protection rights, application to both freeze years was enforceable. 160 Chubb Properties, LLC v. Township of Lyndhurst, 30 N.J. Tax 613, 624-25 (N.J. Tax Ct. 2018).

Gregory S. Schaffer, Esq.
Garippa, Lotz & Giannuario P.C.
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

New York City Property Tax Updates

Updated june 2021

Recent Case Law in Property Valuation

The court, in the recent case of Sleepy Hollow County Club against The Town of Ossining, held that the Income Capitalization Method is the appropriate method to value the subject property of Sleepy Hollow Country Club, a Westchester golf course. Sleepy Hollow argued that the assessment should be reduced using the estimated daily fee rate, rejecting the Town’s argument that the club’s exclusivity and trophy-esqe qualities should be taken into account in assessing the property.   

An important hotel valuation case won by Joel Marcus and Philip Azarian of Marcus & Pollack LLP, held that the Marriott Courtyard near LaGuardia Airport was overvalued by the city. The challenge, which is for the fiscal years 2014-2015 through 2018-2019, reduced the hotel’s tax bill by more than $11 million. According to Joel, the city overvalued the hotel because, rather than rely on the property’s actual expenses, it calculated what the hotel’s expenses would have been using a market average. The city also used comps for hotels in Washington and Boston, cities that Joel believes have little relevance to the New York market. Cross examination of the City’s appraiser revealed that his report failed to adequately detail the methodology and data used from comparable properties. (GCP Realty II, LLC, against The Tax Commission of the City of New York and the Commissioner of Finance of the City of New York.) 

Joel R. Marcus
Marcus & Pollack LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

New York State Property Tax Updates

Updated December 2002

Hijacking the Assessment Review Process 

New York consistently ranks as one of the highest taxed states in the nation, and local property taxes are 79 percent higher than the national average. Boards of Assessment Review face high rates of complaints and increased pressure by the local governing body to control refund liability.

The evidentiary demands of many Boards have escalated sharply and many initiatives have been criticized as mere attempts by the local governing body to deliberately discourage taxpayers from exercising their right to seek a fair assessment, in conflict with the spirit of New York's Real Property Tax Law.

Perhaps the most flagrant attempt to hijack the review process as a tool to curtail the property owner's right to a fair assessment is found in a recently proposed local law by the new Nassau County Executive. The controversial proposed law requires only commercial property owners who file appeals of their property's assessments to submit a certified appraisal as a condition precedent to reducing an assessment. In the alternative, owners may submit a "bona fide" counteroffer - defined as no less then 85 percent of the County's assessment, or withdraw the appeal altogether. Owners who fail to exercise one of the above options forfeit their right to judicial review and are subject to a $5,000 fine.

Nassau County spends approximately $150 million annually to pay down a $1.1 billion debt from past tax refunds even as taxpayers file more than 100,000 protests annually. More than 80 percent of the annual refund liability goes to commercial property owners. The proposed law by the new County Executive seeks to punish commercial property owners for exercising their constitutional right to a fair assessment and equitable tax burden.

The controversial law must be codified by the Nassau County Legislature as well as the New York State Legislature, which must issue a "home rule" message to authorize the change. However, State Senator Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington) has rejected the County Executive's request to introduce the state legislation, citing concerns that the legislation would be unfair to commercial property owners and was unconstitutional on its face. Of the many concerns with the proposed law, it was rejected by Sen. Johnson because it is punitive and bullies commercial property owners to settle within a 15 percent margin that deprives the owner of the right to a fair assessment and an opportunity to be heard.

Michael Martone
Koeppel Martone & Leistman, L.L.P.
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

North Carolina Property Tax Updates

Updated September 2015

North Carolina

The North Carolina General Assembly has enacted legislation which exempts from property tax the increase in the value of real property held for sale by a builder. Effective for tax years beginning January 1, 2016, and applicable to improvements made after July 1, 2015, improvements to single family or duplex residential real property held for sale by builders and commercial real property held for sale by builders are excluded from taxation as long as the property is held for sale. Applications for exclusion must be filed annually.

Charles B. Neely, Jr.
Nancy S. Rendleman
Williams Mullen
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Ohio Property Tax Updates

UPDATED june 2021

COVID-19 Emergency Tax Measures Enacted

Siegel Jennings’ recent Ohio Property Tax Updates have highlighted our firm’s efforts to ensure fair property taxation for all taxpayers through active involvement in the Ohio legislative process. Recent changes to Ohio law sought were two-fold: 1) an amendment to permit a commercial or industrial tenant who is wholly responsible for the property tax liability of a leased property to file a valuation complaint in its own name instead of in the owner’s name; and, 2) an emergency measure affording Ohio taxpayers the ability to seek relief from the negative economic impacts of COVID-19. Both measures have passed, been enacted, and go into effect on August 3, 2021.
Section 5715.19 of the Ohio Revised Code details the who, what, when, where, and why of real estate valuation complaints in Ohio. Long excluded from the “who” were tenant taxpayers wholly responsible for the property taxes under their lease. Prior to the passage of this statutory amendment, tenants were constrained to file complaints in the name of the property owner, assuming they previously negotiated the authority to do so. This alone often presented a hurdle to tenant taxpayers, further complicated by other seemingly normal aspects of litigation. For example, when the school board’s discovery sought documents from the owner and the owner had less interest in the outcome of the litigation than the tenant who was “on the hook” for the tax payments.
As amended, Section 5715.19 remedies these obstacles; eliminating the burden of owner cooperation and putting full control of the litigation in the hands of the party responsible for the taxes.
Senate Bill 57 (SB 57), a temporary emergency relief measure signed into law by Ohio Governor DeWine on April 27, 2021, provides much needed property tax relief to property owners who have been severely impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic and the government stay-at-home orders.
Available only to those taxpayers who can affirmatively demonstrate a negative economic impact on their property caused by COVID-19, the measures provide relief in three ways. First, the date of valuation for these special complaints moves from January 1, 2020, to October 1, 2020. Without this change, taxpayers would have been limited to tax year 2021 complaints to prove the impacts of COVID-19. Second, taxpayers may now present, and taxing authorities must consider, evidence of how a property’s value has been negatively impacted by COVID for the 2020 tax year. Third, the restriction permitting only one complaint to be filed per triennial has been lifted, allowing affected taxpayers the ability to seek relief because of the pandemic’s impact despite a previous filing within the same three-year cycle.
Under normal circumstances, Ohio complaints must be filed between January 1 and March 31 of the year following the relevant tax year. Accounting for the April 2021 passage of SB 57, the legislature has provided a 30-day window in which to files these special COVID related complaints. Taxpayers seeking relief have from the effective date of the Bill of August 3, 2021 through September 2, 2021 to file their complaints.


Kristopher Nicoloff
Siegel Jennings Co., L.P.A.
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Oklahoma Property Tax Updates

UPDATED December 2020

Oklahoma’s Payment Under Protest Deadline and the Limited Exception

Pursuant to 68 O.S. § 2884, if a taxpayer has an appeal pending, the taxes must be paid in full under written notice of protest by December 31st. If the taxpayer does not pay the protested taxes in full under written notice by this date, the appeal is subject to dismissal.

However, a recent Oklahoma Supreme Court case holds that payment under written notice of protest by December 31st is not necessary in cases filed before the Board of Tax Roll Corrections that are later appealed to the District Court. See Video Gaming Technologies Inc. v. Tulsa County Board of Tax Roll Corrections, 2019 OK 84, 455 P.3d 918.

This can be a complicated issue. Contact your tax attorneys should you have any questions.

Mitchell T. Holliman
Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson, P.C.
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Oregon Property Tax Updates

UPDATED June 2021

Oregon Tax Court Defines “New Property” for Central Assessment Companies

The Oregon Constitution has a limitation on taxes referred to as “Measure 50.” Property is valued on the lower of the real market value or the Measure 50 value, which is called the “maximum assessed value.” The maximum assessed value of a property can only be increased by 3% each year, with certain limitations when the property first is assessed or from the 1995 property value. Thus, a home may have a real market value of $500,000 but only be taxed at $350,000 if it was first tax assessed in 2000 when it was built. One of the exceptions to this taxation floor is when “new property” is added to the tax account. In the home example, the addition of a garage or a remodel above $10,000 would be a “net addition” to the existing maximum assessed value. The Oregon Tax Court recently made a significant ruling for centrally assessed property in interpreting what is “new property” for purposes of adding on real market value to pre-existing property.

Tesoro Logistics Northwest Pipeline LLC (“Tesoro”), purchased a pipeline route from Chevron in June 2013. Tesoro had never been centrally assessed in Oregon prior to this purchase. As a pipeline, the property is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which approved the transaction imposing contractual constraints on the transaction, which resulted in no change in the pipeline and no increase in tariffs. Thus, the property that changed ownership remained the same. The Oregon Department of Revenue (the “Department”) asserted that the entire purchase price of the transaction was “new property” and the purchase price could be added onto the existing maximum assessed value. Thus, the taxable value of the property increased by five times.  The Department’s legal position included that because it could “value” the worldwide unit of Tesoro, it could disregard the statutes that taxed “property” with a situs in Oregon. Tesoro asserted that only the addition of property with a situs in Oregon could constitute property or “new property” for Measure 50 purposes.

Based on the interpretation of the statutory context, the Court concluded that only property that had a situs in Oregon could be “new property” and only the addition of Oregon real property, Oregon-sitused tangible personal property, or Oregon-sitused intangible property, triggers the “exception” for new property under Measure 50. The addition of property sitused outside Oregon does not cause the new property “exception” to apply.

The Court also addressed a second argument the Department made that it could disregard the existing Chevron taxable unit because of the sale of property and the creation of a new tax account. The Court concluded that the legislature intended that “unit of property” to the property sitused in Oregon, including all Oregon-sitused real property, Oregon-sitused tangible personal property, or Oregon-sitused intangible property. The court found that because Tesoro acquired the same “Oregon unit of property” that had been assessed to Chevron the previous tax year, Oregon Revised Statute 308.162(1) precluded “revaluation” of the property’s maximum assessed value when the account transferred ownership, citing the holding in Dish Network Corp. v Department of Rev,  364 Or 254, 284, 434 P3d 379 (2019).

This is an unpublished Oregon Tax Court opinion, dated May 18, 2021; Tesoro Logistics Northwest Pipeline LLC v. Department of Revenue, 2021 WL 670471. Tesoro was represented by Cynthia Fraser, APTC counsel for Foster Garvey, Oregon. 


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Foster Garvey PC
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Pennsylvania Property Tax Updates

UPDATED june 2021

Pennsylvania's Annual Filing Deadline Approaching - August 1, 2021

Now is the time to evaluate your Pennsylvania properties for potential appeal opportunities.  65 of Pennsylvania’s 67 Counties have an appeal deadline of August 1, 2021.  While last appeal season, many Pennsylvania Boards of Assessment refused to issue reductions to the impact of COVID due the Boards’ position that there was insufficient market data to support reductions, this year, the impact of COVID – especially on office and hospitality properties cannot be ignored. 

Pennsylvania appeal deadlines are:

  • For Allegheny County, PA – March 31, 2021
  • For Philadelphia County, PA – the first Monday in October (October 4, 2021)
  • For all other 65 PA Counties –August 1, 2021

Now is the time to start collecting the data and documents that will be necessary to evaluate your property’s assessment to see if there is an opportunity to reduce your real estate taxes.  Owners should gather three years of income and expense statements.  If you believe the value of your property may be diminished, please contact us before July so that you can properly evaluate the opportunity to reduce your property taxes with adequate time to prepare a winning case.

To discuss the specifics of an appeal and the valuation of your property, please contact Siegel Jennings at:

Sharon F. DiPaolo, Esquire
Siegel Jennings, Co., L.P.A.
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Rhode Island Property Tax Updates

Updated december 2020

File an Account to Protect your Right of Appeal

Now is the time for Rhode Island taxpayers to preserve their right of appeal for Tax Year 2021 by filing an account with the local assessor. In most jurisdictions the Tax Year 2021 tax bill will be sent out during the summer of 2021. The Tax Year 2021 tax bill has an assessing date of December 31, 2020. In most cases the filing of a valid account by January 31, of each year is a prerequisite to a valid appeal. The account must describe the property, both personal and real, claim of value of the property, and be signed under oath and notarized. Occasionally, the assessors do not send out account forms. It is incumbent upon the taxpayer to seek out a form and properly complete and file it. It is possible for a taxpayer to construct his own account form, but it must include all the required information and be signed under oath, notarized, and filed timely.

David G. Saliba 
Saliba & Saliba
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

South Carolina Property Tax Updates

Updated June 2011

South Carolina Enacts New Point of Sale Law

On June 14, 2011, Governor Nikki Haley signed a new law significantly amending South Carolina's controversial "point of sale" law requiring tax reassessment of properties whenever a sale has occurred. The prior law adopted in 2006, commonly known as "Act 388," placed a fifteen (15%) percent cap on reassessed values as part of the five (5) year countywide reassessment programs but sought to make up for the loss of revenue by requiring that properties be reassessed whenever there is a change of ownership.

Many in the commercial real estate market had expressed that Act 388 placed buyers of commercial properties at a significant competitive disadvantage with competitive properties whose property taxes had not increased. The new law, which does not apply to owner occupied residential properties, creates an exemption equal to twenty-five (25%) percent of any increase in valuation resulting from a change in ownership. The exemption does not permit a reduction in market value below the prior assessed value.

The new legislation leaves several important legal arguments unresolved, most notably the date of valuation for property owners whose properties have decreased in value during the middle of the countywide reassessment cycle. Although the current law calculates property taxes based on the state of the property as of December 31st of the prior year, the South Carolina Attorney General's Office issued an advisory opinion in June 2010 stating that the valuation for any mid-cycle appeal was to refer back to date of the last countywide reassessment. Many South Carolina counties are not adhering to this advisory opinion. The new legislation does not address this issue.

Morris A. Ellison
William T. Dawson
Womble Carlyle
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Tennessee Property Tax Updates

UPDATED june 2021

Missed Deadlines

There are many deadlines in the property tax appeal process. While it is natural to assume that missing one of these deadlines would extinguish the ability to challenge an assessment, this is not always the case.

For example, when taxpayers miss the deadline for appealing a county board of equalization decision to the state board of equalization, there may be a statutory remedy. Tennessee law provides that, in certain circumstances, taxpayers can still file a state board appeal, despite missing the appeal deadline, if they can show “reasonable cause” for their failure to file an appeal.

Taxpayers should contact counsel when seeking a property tax reduction even if they believe that a deadline may have been missed. There are many nuances in the appeal process, and engaging proper counsel is the only way to maximize the chances of achieving tax savings.

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Evans Petree PC
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Texas Property Tax Updates

Updated june 2021

2021 Texas Legislative Session

The 87th Texas Legislature recently adjourned its 140-day biennial meeting.  This session focused on deficiencies in our state’s power grid system (highlighted by the widespread electricity blackouts from February’s winter storm), election integrity, gun rights, and a number of healthcare issues.  Property tax, as always, also captured the attention of lawmakers, who passed about 30 related bills.

Of the property tax legislation that passed, the most notable is HB 988, a bipartisan bill authored by Rep. Hugh Shine and Rep. Eddie Lucio designed to enhance efficiency and accountability.  Jim Popp, who was the architect of the legislation, remarked that fairness in our system “is only as good as the procedures and processes in place to achieve that fairness.”  The 31-page bill provides a slate of measures friendly to taxpayers, while being mindful of the practical challenges that appraisal districts face.  These measures include, for instance, increased transparency in the ARB hearing process, taxpayer input in establishing appraisal district account numbers, and protection for certain procedural rights in litigation.  Other interesting bills include HB 3833 (eliminating interest on rollback takes related to agricultural use), HB 2941 (requiring the ARB to be appointed by the local administrative district judge in all counties, not just large counties), and SB 1427 (clarifying that the Section 11.35 disaster exemption applies only to physical damage to property). 

A summary of HB 988, along with other important property tax legislation, may be found on our website at www.property-tax.com.


Danny Smith, JD, CMI
Popp Hutcheson, PLLC
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Utah Property Tax Updates

Updated march 2020

Possible Property Tax Relief Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

Owners of business properties in Utah may qualify for property tax relief as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Generally, Utah law requires property to be taxed at its fair market value as of January 1 each year.   Because COVID-19 had not impacted Utah communities as of January 1, 2020, it is unlikely that any negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic will be reflected in 2020 assessments.  However, Utah law contains a provision for “access interruption” that occurs after January 1 and allows an adjustment to the current year’s assessment even though the events causing a decrease in fair market value occurred after January 1. 

Utah Code Ann. § 59-2-1004.6 states, “if, during a calendar year, property sustains a decrease in fair market value that is caused by access interruption” then the property owner may apply for an adjustment to the property’s fair market value.  “Access interruption” is defined as “interruption of the normal access to or from property due to any circumstance beyond the control of the owner.” Id.  Owners may have properties, the values of which have been negatively impacted by proclamations, orders or actions denying or substantially limiting “normal access” to, or full use of, those properties during the COVID-19 pandemic.  These interruptions should qualify as “access interruption” and entitle the owner to potential property tax relief.  To obtain relief, the property owner must file an application with the County Board of Equalization “on or before September 30” and must prove “that the property sustained a decrease in fair market value during the applicable calendar year, that was caused by access interruption” and the amount of such decrease.  Id. 

Owners of business properties should pay particular attention to their property assessments to ensure that proper treatment is given to the property to account for any negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  If the assessment does not take into account a reduction in value caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the owner may wish to seek the relief explained above. 

If you have any questions regarding this potential property tax relief, please do not hesitate to contact us.

David J. Crapo & John T. Deeds
Crapo Deeds, PLLC
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Virginia Property Tax Updates

UPDATED december 2020

Virginia Property Tax Liability Likely to Increase

With most Virginia jurisdictions in the midst of finalizing their 2021 assessments, municipal budget woes precipitated by COVID-19 are likely to result in a higher real estate tax burden for Virginia property owners in the coming year.

While most of the large Virginia jurisdictions delayed projected tax rate increases in 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus lockdowns, the most recent budget forecasting sessions have emphasized the rising costs of programs and services.  With retail vacancies projected to see significant increases and office and multi-family rents flat to declining, most jurisdictions are looking at projected revenue that is not sufficient to cover existing debt service, compensation and prior commitments, even before addressing any further priorities.

For real estate tax purposes, this is likely to result in assessors relying upon atypical transactions to draw broad market conclusions in order to justify above-market assessments for specific properties.  Combining this valuation approach with the likelihood of tax rate increases, results in an increase in tax liability for many owners. 

For guidance on your specific property, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ilene Baxt Boorman
Mark Rogers
Wilkes Artis, Chtd.

American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Washington Property Tax Updates

Updated june 2020

Property Tax Relief Proposed for Commercial Real Estate

While many types of commercial real estate have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, immediate property tax relief has been in short supply. Immediate tax reductions are available in the event of unexpected physical destruction, such as by fire or flood, but the application of that statute to the pandemic is less clear. Another statute gives relief for government restrictions that cause a loss in value, but the timing of that relief is problematic. The King County Assessor recently proposed legislation to address the problems with current law:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYkb0f4QLnc. 

The next regular session of the state legislature convenes in January 2021, but the governor may call a special session sooner in order to work on a large budget shortfall. Now is the time to be in touch with your legislator to press the view that property tax relief for commercial real estate should be high on the list of priorities.

Norman J. Bruns & Michelle DeLappe
Foster Garvey PC
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Washington DC. Property Tax Updates

updated december 2020

Possible Changes to Assessment Appeal Calendar

On December 16, 2020, Wilkes Artis, Chartered participated in a roundtable discussion with the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue (“OTR”) and CRE stakeholders. The roundtable was organized by OTR for the purposes of obtaining information from the CRE community about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected property values in the District. In addition to presentations from CRE stakeholders regarding COVID-19’s toll on commercial real estate,  OTR informed the community that it may seek legislative changes to the statutorily prescribed assessment appeal calendar to ostensibly allow OTR to review recent financial information when deriving the upcoming proposed Tax Year 2022 assessments. This is not the first time OTR has proposed changing the appeal timeline. The concern the CRE community raised previously, which still applies, is that delaying the appeal timeline without significant changes and improvements in other areas of the appeal process could have a materially negative impact on property owners’ appeals. For example, the last proposal from OTR sought to amend the appeals calendar in such a way that the time frame for review of appeals was substantially truncated. It is our experience that a shortened appeal window negatively impacts our clients ability to timely obtain relief.  Indeed, under the existing timelines OTR often states it has insufficient time to review appeals. Any decrease in the amount of time to review appeals will almost certainly negatively impact a taxpayer’s ability to obtain a fair assessment. We will continue to monitor the situation and update our clients.



Jonathan L. Cloar, Esquire
Wilkes Artis, Chartered
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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Jan
01

Wisconsin Property Tax Updates

Updated March 2018

Wisconsin Court Of Appeals Holds That Agricultural Land Classification Does Not Require That Crops Be Grown For A Business Purpose

In a decision issued on March 7, 2018, State of Wisconsin ex rel. The Peter Ogden Family Trust v. Board of Review, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected the assessor’s position that crops must be grown for a business purpose for land to qualify for agricultural classification, which requires assessment at significantly below market value.

Beginning in 2012, the land at issue was classified as agricultural and agricultural forest based upon pine trees, apple trees, and hay the landowners planted on the property. In 2016, the assessor concluded that the property failed to meet the agricultural and agricultural forest classifications and reclassified the property as residential.  This resulted in an increase in the assessed property value from $17,100 as agricultural land to $886,000 as residential land.

The landowners objected to the 2016 assessment, and the board of review upheld the residential classification. The landowners filed an action for certiorari review, arguing that the change was erroneous because it was based upon the mistaken belief that for land to qualify as agricultural land, crops grown on the property must be grown for a business purpose. The circuit court upheld the assessment, and the landowners appealed.

The Court of Appeals examined Wisconsin statutes defining “agricultural land” and “agricultural use,” as well as the relevant Department of Revenue rule, and concluded that the plain language of the statutes and rule refers to “growing” the relevant crops, not marketing, selling, or profiting from them. The Court found that the board of review’s position that the land could not be “devoted primarily to agricultural use” without “minimal sales,” “valid economic activity,” and crops being “marketed for sale” was unsupported and contrary to law. The Court further rejected the board’s argument that the assessor did not impose a “business standard” when evaluating the use of the property, concluding that a review of the transcript of the board hearing demonstrated that the assessor and the board clearly—and erroneously—equated “agricultural use” with growing crops for a business purpose.

The Court thus held that to qualify for agricultural classification, it is sufficient that the land be devoted primarily to growing qualifying crops, whether or not those crops are grown for a business purpose.

Marie Bahoora
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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American Property Tax Counsel

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