UPDATED september 2018
In Property Tax Assessment, Every Year Stands on its Own – Except When it Doesn’t
A recent appellate case held that the doctrine of “decisional finality” applies to tax exemption matters and that there must be a terminal point in proceedings at which the parties may rely on a decision as being final and dispositive of the rights and issues involved. In the case, the property appraiser (“PA”) denied an educational exemption and the taxpayer appealed to the Value Adjustment Board (“VAB”), which granted it. The PA did not appeal the 2008 VAB decision and the school received exemption for the next five years. In 2014, however, with no change in the law or factual circumstances, the PA sought to revisit the matter, denying the exemption. The taxpayer argued the doctrine of administrative finality bars re-litigation of the exemption issue absent changed circumstances. The court agreed and wrote that expanding the already broad authority of property appraisers by authorizing administrative challenges to previously granted tax exemptions serves no cognizable purpose where factual and legal underpinnings of an exemption remain the same.
Julie Schwartz, Esq.
Rennert Vogel Mandler & Rodriguez, P.A.
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)