Translate

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Loophole allowing some retailers to pay property tax as if vacant.

The dark store tax argument.  The underlying argument is millions of dollars have been spent to build a large box for a particular store.  County property appraisers will then value the property based on the purchase price of the land plus the cost of construction, less depreciation.  The property owner will then argue that the property should be valued based on comparable sales of similar properties, the way a house is valued for tax purposes.


Over the past four years, many stores such as Lowe's and Target, have fought this fight. In most cases the stores have prevailed, saving millions of dollars in property taxes, according to the National Association of Counties.  
The store has a duty to their investors to watch their bottom line and pay their fair share.  They are arguing that they are being over assessed and winning.  


In Marquette, MI, the local Lowe's which built a store two years ago for $10 million argued that it really should be valued at $3.5 million.  They argued that the resale value of other shuttered big-box stores throughout the state should determine the value, not the cost of construction.  This resulted in a cut by two-thirds and Marquette had to return about $450,000 back to Lowe's.  Their current tax bill was also lowered by more than $150,000 a year.  

Where lies the correct number?  Construction, value-in-use, as vacant, or a blending of all of the above?  

While we at Property Tax Appeal Group have made this argument, it is difficult for the county to change how they value a particular type of construction or use after so many years of consistent valuations.  

For more information on this subject you may check out www.bloomberg.com

Monday, December 12, 2016

Supreme Court will not hear the appeal from a married couple where each have a Homestead exemption in different states.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Dec. 9, 2016 – The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear an appeal of a case that involved a married couple having homestead exemptions in two states. Justices, as is common, did not explain their reasons for turning down the appeal filed by Broward County resident Venice Endsley, who was married to her late husband, Robert, for more than 60 years.
In the 1980s, Venice Endsley signed over her rights to a home in Huntington, Ind., to her husband. In turn, Robert Endsley signed over his rights to a home in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea to his wife. Venice Endsley had a homestead exemption on the Florida home, while her husband received a similar exemption on the Indiana home.
The Broward County property appraiser learned of the arrangement in 2006 and said Venice Endsley was not entitled to a Florida homestead exemption, which resulted in a legal dispute as the court waded into questions about whether state law only barred multiple homestead exemptions in Florida or whether the prohibition also addresses properties in other states.
In its ruling the 4th District Court of Appeal in March sided with the property appraiser, ruling that the Florida Constitution only allowed one homestead exemption to be claimed. A three-judge panel, pointing to a provision in the Florida Constitution, upheld a decision by a Broward County circuit judge, who found that the Endsleys were a "single family unit and could not claim separate homestead exemptions," according to the ruling in March 2016.
"The trial court found that the plain language of the provision meant that only one homestead exemption was allowed, regardless of location. We agree," said the ruling, written by appeals-court Judge Alan Forst and joined by judges Melanie May and Rosemarie Scher. "The meaning of the Constitution's command that 'not more than one exemption shall be allowed any individual or family unit' appears clear on the face of the document."
Attorneys for Venice Endsley then asked the Florida Supreme Court to take up the case. In turning down the request for an appeal, the Supreme Court effectively allows the ruling by the earlier Appeals Court to stand.
Source: News Service of Florida

For Property Tax assistance: www.PTAGflorida.com