Disappointing Property Tax Outcomes
- Aug 17, 2022 4:23 pm GMT
Two property tax cases had frustrating outcomes.
In the other case, a
A solar company entered into a power contract to supply all of the electricity from a five-megawatt solar project to
The county assessed property taxes on the solar project starting in 2017. The solar company said the solar system is exempt and pointed to a state law that exempts “solar energy systems not held for resale.”
The case landed in the state
The state constitution has a list of exempted categories of property.
It then says, “All laws exempting from taxation property other than the property enumerated in this article, shall be void.”
The solar company argued that the fact that the legislature has authority under the constitution to set different rates for different types of property means it can set a zero rate for some types of property. The court said no.
The case is Johnson v.
The taxpayer in the
The local assessor said they were subject to real property taxes. The owner lost an appeal to the board of assessment and lost again in a trial court. It lost again in August in a
The appeals court said the turbines were so permanently affixed to the land — dismantling them would have required removing 124 anchor bolts set in concrete and cost
The trial court analogized the towers to sheds since a number of people could take shelter inside them at a time. The appeals court said it did not matter whether the turbines and towers are “buildings” as the trial court said or merely “structures,” since both are taxed as real property. It said it had previously found that a 385-foot communications tower is a structure.
It declined to treat the nacelles as machines. They are not the type of machinery used in a mill or factory and seem permanently affixed to the towers and land. However, the court said that associated equipment, such as cables, wires, poles and underground mains and conduits, are personal property.
The case is
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