Success Stories

Reduce Your Property Taxes


Assessment Appeal for Condominium Parking Spaces in Pa

Donald J. Weiss ESQ

I’ve handled appeals on properties as small as parking spaces and I recognized that doing one parking space is the same as another, the first parking space case involved saving a condominium developer who owned over 350 parking spaces. In the end I saved him $500 in taxes per year per parking spot, totaling over an annual savings in real estate taxes of $175,000 a year.

Assessment Appeal for Contaminated Property

Donald J. Weiss ESQ

I had the first case in the Delaware Valley, possibly the first in the State of Pennsylvania in which I was successful in getting a 20,000 sq. ft. commercial office building assessed at Zero. The case involved a four-day trial with numerous expert witnesses testifying to the value of a contaminated property. I was successful in convincing the Judge that the property had no value since the potential cost to remediate it far exceeded the value based upon rental income.

Recent Pennsylvania Cases

Hoegen and Associates, PC

Kraft Foods – Leigh County, PA

Assessment reduced 35% and the property owner realized almost $60,000 in annual tax savings

Privately owned multi-tenant 1,000,000 square foot facility - Luzerne County
Assessment reduced 40%; owner realized $100,000 per year in tax savings

Health Care Campus – Luzerne County

Certain buildings were converted to tax exempt properties and the other buildings were reduced with an overall tax savings to the client in excess of $100,000 per year

Shopping Center, Luzerne County

Property included Raymor and Flanigan, Burlington Coat Factory and Home Depot
Reduced assessment from $14,000,000 to 11,000,000

Monroe County Skytop Lodge Property Tax Decision

Read the Decision

Grand Prix LLC, Harrisburg

Read the Decision

Connecticut Tax Reduction

Jeffrey Donofrio ESQ

We represented a major commercial and industrial property owner in a real property tax appeal challenging a municipal tax assessment. At trial, the defendant claimed the subject property was worth in excess of $1.8 million based upon its “special use” status. We claimed that the property was worth substantially less and was not a “special use” property. The Court agreed with us and valued the property based upon the valuation evidence we presented at trial, resulting in a valuation reduction in excess of $1,000,000 for our client.

Significant Illinois Property Tax Case Summaries

Fisk Kart Katz & Regan LTD

Cook County Board of Review v. Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board & Robert Bosch Corporation 791 N.E.2d 8, 274 Ill.Dec. 212 (1st Dist. 2002)

- Must Assessment Levels Be Uniform Among Property Classes?

The issue presented in this case is whether the assessment level must be uniform within each class of property when it is lower than the prescribed ordinance level. The Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB), in determining the correct assessment, used the median level of assessment for a particular class as determined by the sales ratio studies of the Department of Revenue. The PTAB concluded that an assessed valuation must be established consonant with the Illinois Department of Revenue’s three-year Median Level of Assessment for Cook County properties. This case is currently pending in the Illinois Court of Appeals.

Walsh v. Property Tax Appeal Board 181 Ill.2d 228, 692 N.E.2d 260, 229 Ill.Dec. 487 (Ill. 1998)

- Use of Sales Price in Valuation Violates Constitutional Guarantee of Uniform Taxation

In this case, a taxpayer challenged the County’s use of recent sales prices to upwardly revise the assessment of the taxpayer’s property to 33% of true fair cash value. The Supreme Court held that the County’s selective departure from a mass appraisal method of valuation for a small group of properties violated the state constitutional guarantee of uniformity in taxation.

Oregon Community Unit School District No. 220, et al, v. Property Tax Appeal Board 285 Ill.App.3d 170, 674 N.E.2d 129, 220 Ill.Dec. 858 (2nd Dist. 1996)

- Steam Generators Properly Assessed as Personal Property

In this case, the PTAB determined that steam generators at a nuclear power plant should be assessed as personal property. The evidence showed that the classification of steam generators as real property was unlawful because it was inconsistent with other classifications in the County.

Allegheny Pennsylvania Property Assessment Results:


Examples of Commercial Property Tax Appeal Results.

Examples of Residential Property Tax Appeal Results.

North New Jersey Success Cases

Douglas M. Standriff, Esq

Wisonsin Success Cases

Robert Hill, Esq

Walgreen Co. v. City of Madison

752 N.W.2d 687 (Wisc. 2008)

In this case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that a property tax assessment must be based on fair market rental rates and not on above-market rental contract values. Walgreens leased two properties located in Madison, Wisconsin from a developer who built the properties according to Walgreens's specifications. The lease terms provided for higher than fair market rental prices in order to compensate the developer for financing, land acquisition, construction, and development costs plus profit. In 2003 and 2004, Walgreens appealed their tax assessments to the City of Madison Board of Review, which denied their claim for excessive assessment. Walgreens then appealed through to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Court held that a correct assessment requires use of the proper methodology for assessing leased retail property per Wisconsin Statute Section 70.31(1), which requires real property to be valuated based on procedures found in the Wisconsin Property Assessment Manual and the Appraisal of Real Estate. Thus the court held that assessments must be based on market rent and not the rent agreed to in the lease. Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Coop v. County of Renville

Minnisota Success Cases

Robert Hill, Esq

Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Coop v. County of Renville

The Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Coop (SMBSC) petitioned the court for relief from Renville County's real property tax assessment of its sugar beet processing plant on the basis that the estimated market value used by the county was greater than the property's actual market value. The court found that there were three approaches to determining the value of real estate: the market comparison approach, which is based on comparable sales; the cost approach, which is based on what a buyer would pay for constructing a new version of the same property; and the income approach, which is based on the income the property is expected to generate. In this case, SMBSC's tax assessor used both the cost and market comparison approaches but rejected evidence of the comparable sales. The state Supreme Court held that that the tax court was required to use its independent judgment in evaluating all offered testimony and evidence and ordered the court to consider the evidence of the comparison sales.

Minnisota Success Cases

Robert Hill, Esq

McNeilus Truck & Mfg., Inc. v. County of Dodge

705 N.W.2d 410 (Minn. 2005) McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing, Inc. owned and operated a large cement drum and refuse container manufacturing plant in Dodge County. In valuating McNeilus's property, Dodge County's certified appraiser used the sales comparison approach and selected ten comparable industrial property sales out of fifty which were of dissimilar uses and sizes. McNeilus's expert appraiser used a sales comparison and cost approach to valuation, but with comparable sales of properties having similar uses from a much larger market. The two valuations resulted in drastically different property values. The tax court refused to accept out-of-state sales comparables. The Minnesota Supreme Court held that ruling against the admission of out-of-state comparable sales violated the tax court's obligation to use its independent judgment in evaluating testimony and evidence. The court held that the tax court is required to follow Minn.Stat. § 273.11, subd. 1 (2004), which provides that "all property shall be valued at its market value." It further held that "fair market value for property assessment purposes is the compensation which a willing purchaser [would] pay to an owner - taking into consideration the highest and best use of the property."

Michigan Success Cases

Eva Cantarella, Esq
Representative Successful Property Tax Appeals Handled by Eva Cantarella and Ken Silver include the following:

New York & New Jersey Cases

Janta, Lacap & Associates

JP Morgan Chase Bank v. Franklin Township

Doc. No. 4537-2007 (Tax Court of New Jersey, May 8, 2009)

Successful trial decision denying a municipality’s sought increase of the 2007 assessment on a 50,000 Sq. Ft. Chase Bank office building from $4,300,000 to $7,830,000 which would have resulted in a 2007 tax increase of approximately $66,000. Among the issues decided, the court rejected the town appraiser’s comparable lease data where upon cross-examination the town appraiser admitted that, rather than conducting his own lease research, he relied solely on information given to him by the town tax assessor, and additionally failed to make proper adjustments to the purported comparables for size and other factors.

United Parcel Service v. Town of Colonie

42 A.D.3d 835, 840 N.Y.S.2d 222 (3rd Dept 2007)

Appellate decision upholding a successful Janata, LaCap & Associates trial decision ordering assessment reductions and tax refunds, plus interest, on a 160,000 Sq. Ft. industrial building in Albany County, New York for United Parcel Service. Among the issues involved the Appellate court upheld the striking of the town’s appraisal based on Janata, LaCap & Associates demonstration that the town’s appraisal failed to properly identify its comparables and the market area. The Appellate court also rejected towns assertion that the property was to be valued as an “overnight transshipment” facility rather than general industrial building.

National Gypsum v. Tonawanda

4 N.Y.3d 680, 830 N.E.2d 1137, 797 N.Y.S2d 809 (2005)

A Janata, LaCap & Associates decision from the highest court in New York confirming as proper procedure the New York Real Property Tax Certiorari Bar’s procedural practice of giving notice dates on tax appeal petitions in conformance with statutory mandates even though the notice date is later changed by the court.

Maryland Property Tax Appeal Success Stories

Robert Park Esq, Linowes & Blocher