Cost Containment Advisors

1-203-531-0770 15 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830


February 2020 Newsletter

February 12, 2020 | Newsletter
  • MINNESOTA – Tax Court holds that Commissioner of Revenue had understated system and allocated valuations of crude oil pipeline based on cost and income approach analyses.
  • WEST VIRGINIA – Regulation authorizing use of annual average “Steam Coal Price Per Ton” and coal seam thickness averages for ad valorem tax valuation does not violate statutory requirement that natural resources property be assessed at its “true and actual value.”
  • ARIZONA – Supreme Court holds that Department of Revenue lacks statutory authority to value leased solar panels but remands on issue of whether they may be valued by county assessor and, if so, whether A.R.S. § 42–11054(C)(2)’s zero-value provision applies.
  • TEXAS – Separate appraisal for ad valorem taxation of saltwater disposal wells and the land on which they are located does not constitute double taxation, and different appraisal methods may be utilized for each.
  • ARIZONA – Amendment to statute governing valuation of renewable energy equipment which allows deduction of tax incentives from cost, enacted after valuation date but prior to date of final valuation, is not retroactive.
  • CALIFORNIA – Airport terminal lessee’s exclusive duty-free concession right is intangible right not subject to property tax.

June 2019 Newsletter

June 13, 2019 | Newsletter
  • MASSACHUSETTS – Letters that accompanied a thermal energy provider’s quarterly tax payments did not satisfy statutory requirement of filing an abatement application
  • MINNESOTA – Tax Court is bound by Rule 8100, which requires use of both the cost and income approaches in the valuation of utilities, including pipeline systems, even where the Tax Court believes it will result in an inaccurate valuation
  • ARIZONA – Court of Appeals holds that unless the Legislature indicates otherwise, the law governing the valuation method and classification of property for property tax purposes is the law in effect on the valuation date
  • NORTH CAROLINA – Equipment used “directly and exclusively for the conversion of solar energy to electricity” was tax exempt under N.C. General Statutes § 105-275(45), even though under construction
  • OREGON – “New property” exception to Article XI § 11 of the Oregon Constitution, which provides that the assessed value of a unit of property in any given year cannot exceed the previous year’s assessed value by more than three percent, does not apply to property previously subject to, but not subjected to, central assessment
  • OREGON – Department of Revenue erroneously relied on power purchase agreement that provided biomass cogeneration facility with revenues significantly in excess of what a purchaser of the property on the assessment dates would have been able to negotiate for electricity, capacity, and renewable energy credits, and erroneously considered intangible assets by valuing taxpayer’s entire property and business under the income approach, subtracting only an amount for working capital

February 2019 Newsletter

February 15, 2019 | Newsletter
  • INDIANA – Sales Price of Contaminated Property Not Reliable Indicator of Market Value where Evidence Did Not Show Property was Reasonably Exposed to Market at Time of Sale, Failed to Relate Sales Price to Appropriate Valuation Date, and Did Not Disclose Sale Under Duress
  • LOUISIANA – Pipeline Owner Failed to Show Tax Assessor Abused her Discretion in Finding Insufficient Evidence to Substantiate 85% Reduction in Fair Market Value for Economic Obsolescence of its Intrastate Pipeline
  • OREGON – Supreme Court Rejects Department of Revenue Valuation based on Power Purchase Agreement Favorable to Taxpayer that Erroneously Considered Intangible Assets by Valuing Taxpayer’s Entire Property and Business
  • MINNESTOTA – Tax Court Rejects Calculation of External Obsolescence of Ethanol Production Facility Based on “Inutility” and Operating Capacity in Arriving at Taxable Fair Market Value of its Assets
  • MONTANA – Supreme Court Agrees that Taxpayer’s Crude Oil Gathering Pipelines Were Misclassified by Department of Revenue
  • CALIFORNIA – Assessor May Assume that Option to Extend Lease of Federal Land Will Be Exercised in Valuing Leasehold for Property Tax Purposes

December 2018 Newsletter

December 7, 2018 | Newsletter
  • MINNESTOTA – Tax Court Rejects Sales Comparison and Cost Approaches in Valuing Pipeline, Relying Solely on Income Approach
  • ARIZONA – Taxable Situs for Dealer-Held Heavy Equipment Is Location Where Dealer Maintained Inventory, Rather Than Various Locations Where Leased Equipment Might Have Otherwise Been Physically Located
  • OREGON – Tax Court Holds Experts Providing Valuation Testimony Need Not Be Licensed Appraisers.
  • WISCONSIN – Income-Generating Capability of Oil Terminals Inextricably Intertwined with Land; Thus Properly Included in Assessment
  • MINNESOTA – On Remand, Tax Court Did Not Improperly Apply Eurofresh Standard in Rejecting Pipeline’s Claim of External Obsolescence
  • CALIFORNIA – Court of Appeals Holds that Revenue from Broadband and Telephone Service May Be Included in Valuing Cable Company’s Possessory Interests, With Appropriate Deduction for Intangible Assets

August 2018 Noteworthy Case

August 21, 2018 | Newsletter ARIZONA – “...Property was actually transferred between two very sophisticated players in an arms-length exchange. The valuation approach used by both the buyer and seller in that transaction was, in fact, the income approach. The Court puts a great deal of weight on the fact that, outside the ethereal, hypothetical world of lawyers and experts in courtrooms and in academia debating appropriate valuation methods, outside the vacuum of learned treatises commenting on accepted practices, and with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, two very sophisticated real-world actors both used the income approach to determine the subject’s value.”

July 2018 Newsletter

July 24, 2018 | Newsletter
  • CALIFORNIA – Proper appraisal unit to be used under California Property Tax Code when comparing base year value to current full cash value of property improved with active solar energy generating systems containing non-solar backup systems was property with entire unit, rather than property with backup system alone.
  • ARIZONA – Unless the substance of a State Board of Equalization decision on an assessment appeal is materially affected, a re-issued decision correcting mere clerical errors does not trigger the start of a new appeal period.
  • ARKANSAS – Under the statute governing determination of fair market value for utilities and carriers in assessment of property taxes, the Public Service Commission’s Tax Division may, but need not, consider physical or economic obsolescence in valuing a company.
  • NEW MEXICO – Cable Television provider determined to comprise part of a “communications system” subject to central assessment under New Mexico Tax Code.
  • MISSOURI – Reproduction cost approach, using original cost less depreciation, is to be employed for calculating assessed value of both personal and real property belonging to natural gas companies.

November 2017 Newsletter

November 13, 2017 | Newsletter
  • CALIFORNIA – Airlines’ failure to challenge assessments on their commercial aircraft before local boards of equalization precluded claims that assessments were void because Counties had deviated from mandatory statutory formula.
  • MINNESOTA – Supreme Court rejects Tax Court’s use of Eurofresh standard, holding that to prove a property suffers from external obsolescence; utility taxpayers need not identify the specific causes of external obsolescence and precisely calculate the contribution of each asset to decreased revenues or profit margins.
  • SOUTH CAROLINA – Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals holds that South Carolina statute which singles out railroad property by excluding it from 15 percent assessment increase cap afforded other commercial and industrial property violates Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act.
  • COLORADO – Supreme Court allows retroactive taxation where gas company underreported oil and gas selling price at the wellhead.
  • OHIO – Case remanded to Board of Tax Appeals to consider whether property owner established that initially reported value was not accurate reflection of parcel’s value and to independently determine parcel’s true value.

July 2017 Newsletter

July 1, 2017 | Newsletter
  • TEXAS – Court of Appeals rejects Appraisal District claim that changing or modifying the specific grounds for property tax appeal deprives District Court of jurisdiction.
  • TEXAS – Oil refinery not required to compare entire value of its refinery to entire value of other refineries in its unequal appraisal analysis, but rather may limit its property tax challenge to certain tax accounts and the portions of its refinery to which they correspond.
  • TEXAS – Supreme Court rejects Commerce Clause challenge to taxation of natural gas stored within state for resale and shipment out-of-state.
  • GEORGIA – Supreme Court agrees with State Revenue Commissioner that transporter of liquid natural gas is not a gas company and therefore not a public utility.
  • ARIZONA – Court of Appeals holds that the owner of power plant on tribal land may raise argument that federal law preempts state and local taxation despite prior ruling that plant was subject to state taxation because it was owned privately rather than by the tribe.
  • WYOMING – Supreme Court rejects coal company’s attempt to reclassify “the mouth of the mine”—the point of valuation for coal when reporting its value for property tax purposes—to exclude below-grade conveyor system.

January 2017 Newsletter

January 31, 2017 | Newsletter
  • ARIZONA – Arizona Court of Appeals holds that recently amended A.R.S. § 42-14155, allowing for reduction of taxable value by amount of tax credits or cash grants commonly afforded wind and solar energy equipment, does not apply retroactively.
  • CALIFORNIA – Court of Appeals holds that telephone company’s failure to request refund in petition for reassessment precludes claim for $9 million in overpaid taxes.
  • MASSACHUSETTS – Supreme Judicial Court rejects telephone companies’ constitutional claim to taxation of personal property at same rate as commercial and industrial real property.
  • OREGON – Cities’ interest in electrical transmission capacity, purchased from electrical cooperative and used to transmit electricity over region’s federally administered power grid, is subject to property tax by Department of Revenue as a property interest held by a taxpayer.
  • CONNECTICUT – Discounted cash flow method may be used in valuation of trash-to-energy plant.
  • OREGON – Supreme Court affirms Tax Court decision that non-core buildings constitute functional depreciation detracting from property’s real market value, and that when accounting for this depreciation under the cost approach, the “value of the loss”—the appropriate reduction in replacement value—must be determined with reference to the property’s highest and best use.

September 2016 Newsletter

September 1, 2016 | Newsletter
  • VIRGINIA – Supreme Court holds City of Richmond could not impose tax on natural gas consumed solely for purpose of generating electricity.
  • SOUTH CAROLINA – U.S. District Court rejects railroad’s claim that South Carolina Valuation Act, which limits increases in appraised values of certain industrial properties but not railroads and utility providers, violates the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976.
  • NORTH DAKOTA – County auditor may not use omitted property statutes to revalue oil and liquid petroleum gas terminals following reduction in prior year due to failure to notify taxpayer of Board of Equalization meeting.
  • COLORADO – Court of Appeals holds that counties may retroactively assess oil and gas leaseholds under the omitted property statutes where value has been underreported, even without evidence of omitted property or willfully false and misleading annual statements.
  • ALASKA – Department of Revenue regulation directing appeals of oil and gas property tax valuation to be heard by State Assessment Review Board while appeals of oil and gas property taxability were to be heard by Department violates statute granting Review Board exclusive jurisdiction over all appeals from Department’s assessments of oil and gas property.