Thursday, June 23, 2016

Millions in property tax breaks for Resorts World Miami site (Genting)

The Miami Herald and The Real Deal recently published stories examining the Property Tax refund that the Genting group is receiving.  Barry Sharpe, of our PTAG (Property Tax Appeal Group) was interviewed by the Herald for the story.

The Real Deal:
The Malaysian gaming giant has reportedly saved millions on property taxes at its bayfront development site by appealing its assessed value multiple times, spurring lawsuits between both Genting and the county.
In 2011, Genting paid $236 million to buy the iconic Miami Herald building and several other properties along Biscayne Boulevard for a total of 14 acres. The company planned to erect a massive gaming and leisure complex dubbed Resorts World Miami, though the site has stagnated since Genting finished demolishing the former Herald building last year.
In 2012, the board cut Genting’s assessed property values to $88 million — a dramatic decrease from the property appraiser’s assessment of $132 million, according to the Herald.
In 2013, the board reduced the property appraiser’s assessment by 25 percent, and then again in 2014 by 20 percent, according to county records cited by the Herald.
As a result of those value cuts, Miami-Dade has to refund more than $2.3 million to Genting from property taxes the company already paid before the appeals went through — plus 12 percent interest.

Miami Herald:
That has required Miami-Dade tax authorities to issue Genting’s Resorts World Miami subsidiary $2,322,434 in refunds, with $68,984 more pending, according to figures compiled by the county tax collector’s office.
Barry Sharpe of the Property Tax Appeal Group, said reductions of the proportion Genting won are not unprecedented but are certainly uncommon.
“They definitely sound unusual,” Sharpe said, while stressing that he was not suggesting they’re unjustified. “I’m not privy to the information. But 25 percent is a relatively significant reduction. It’s not typical.”
Most clients, Sharpe said, are happy to win a reduction of 10 percent or less, though he said he has on occasion won cuts twice that large. He said determining the assessed value of a property is a subjective exercise, and that skilled attorneys can make a case for a large reduction based not only on comparable sales but other factors that could limit a property’s resale price. Those could include zoning, proximity to busy roads, the view, or the condition of buildings or the land.
Though prices of waterfront land in and around downtown Miami have been soaring, Sharpe said, factors particular to that property could limit how much volume Genting could build on the land or what obstacles the property presents to construction —and thus limit the value of the land.
“The more you can build, the more valuable the land typically is,” Sharpe said.

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Due to the improper assessments, the county must also pay $255,344 with accounts for the 12% interest on the tax fees that were refunded.