Success Stories

Pennsylvania Tax Reduction

Michael Siddons, Esq.

Michael Siddons, Esq. is an experienced attorney who has successfully assisted clients in negotiating for significant savings on both residential and commercial property tax assessments.

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.

Illinois Tax Reduction

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.

Wisconsin Tax Reduction

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.

Minnesota Tax Reduction

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.

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 Tax Reduction

Eva Cantarella, Esq.

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

  • Historic 46-Story Office Building in Downtown Detroit; taxable value reduced from 7,259,000 to 4,773,500 – a 34.25% reduction
  • 79,700 SF Showroom / Warehouse in Troy; taxable value reduced from 3,446,890 to 1,648,125 – a 52.19% reduction
  • 47,400 SF Light Manufacturing Facility in New Baltimore; taxable value reduced from 2,299,600 to 1,326,500 – a 42.32% reduction
  • 29,750 SF Office Building in the City of Bloomfield Hills;taxable value reduced from 1,067,690 to 335,290 – a 68.60% reduction
  • 325,000 SF Shopping Mall in Livonia; taxable value reduced from 8,553,320 to 4,939,320 – a 42.25% reduction
  • 72,500 SF Strip Mall in Haring Township; taxable value reduced from 1,449,400 to 953,800 – a 34.19% reduction
  • 27,100 SF Strip Mall in Denton township; taxable value reduced from 694,600 to 496,000 – a 28.59% reduction
  • 16,000 SF Showroom/Warehouse in Troy;taxable value reduced from 558,640 to 287,500 – a 48.54% reduction
  • 5760 SF Medical Office Condo; taxable value reduced from 780,600 to 555,500 – a 28.84% reduction

New York & New Jersey Tax Reduction

Janta, Lacap & Hazen, LLP

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 Tax Reduction

Michael Siddons, Esq.

Michael Siddons, Esq. is an experienced attorney who has successfully assisted clients in negotiating for significant savings on both residential and commercial property tax assessments.