Some Of Our Many Success Stories
Read about some of our firm’s past cases to learn how we can help you with your property tax appeal.
The Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Coop (SMBSC) appealed Renville County’s tax assessment of its beet processing plant. The county’s estimated market value for the plant was greater than the property’s actual market value.
In this case, SMBSC’s tax assessor used both the Cost and Market Comparison approaches but rejected evidence of the comparable sales. The Minnesota Supreme Court held 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.
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 rental prices that were higher than the market value 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.
Robert Hill and his team reduced the property tax burden of a manufacturing facility by $1,600,000 over a three-year period.
We were asked to represent Rochelle Foods, the local manufacturing facility owned by Hormel Foods Corporation in Ogle County, Illinois.
The manufacturing plant had been recently upgraded with a large addition to the plant. The initial assessment was valued at $16,200,000. We were able to present evidence to the assessor’s office that the determination was incorrect and the assessed value was reduced to $4,440,000. Our team was able to do this without subjecting the client to the cost of a trial.
McNeilus Truck & Mfg., Inc. v. County Of Dodge
McNeilus 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 10 comparable industrial property sales out of a small pool. The supposedly comparable properties were actually of dissimilar uses and sizes.
The company’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 the lower court’s rejection of out-of-state comparable sales violated the tax court’s obligation to use its independent judgment in evaluating testimony and evidence.
The state supreme 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.”
Robert Hill Wins Big Case For Menards
In a seminal decision, the Minnesota Tax Court ruled that a Menards store located in Moorhead Minnesota had been overassesed by at least 4 million dollars for a number of years. Robert Hill Law, in conjunction with Paradigm Tax Group, successfully prosecuted a reduction of approximately 16 million dollars on behalf of Menards.
Robert Hill said, “Today’s ruling reflects our Tax Court’s recognition that big box retail stores are being overassessed in general because, unlike other types of retail facilities, they are not typically income producing and suffer from various forms of obsolescence. I’m pleased to have represented Menards in this important case.”
Robert Hill Law Wins For CVS – Dark Store “Theory” Is A Faulty Theory
Robert Hill Law won a significant case for CVS Pharmacy in Appleton, Wisconsin. The case represents another victory for uniformity in property taxation in Wisconsin.
The City promoted the specious theory known as the “Dark Store Loophole” to argue that retailers like CVS should be taxed based upon the investment value of the CVS store instead of the market value of the real estate housing CVS as the tenant.
We argued that it is only sales of real estate which matter and that the circuit court was required by Wisconsin law to “Tax it at its sale value.” We are pleased to report that the Wisconsin Court of Appeals agreed with the circuit court on December 28th, 2016.
Menards v. Winona County
A settlement has been reached in a case that will stand as a victory for fairness and reasonable tax assessments. The petitioners in Menards vs. Winona County accepted an adjusted market rate of $7.2 million, down from the $9 million that was originally assessed.
“We compromised,” said Bob Hill. “Menards now feels it’s being treated at least in-line with what the market is doing.”
Contact Us To Learn How We Can Help
The team at Robert Hill Law have decades of experience with commercial property tax appeals. Contact our Wayzata, Minnesota office to learn how we can help your claim. Call 952-426-7373, or email our firm.