Taxation of Business Property: Is Uniformity Still a Valid Norm?

By Frederick D. Stocker; John H. Bowman | Go to book overview
competent proof as to how the pollution on the plaintiff's land affected valuation. The extent of the pollution was at best an educated guess, and the wide range of cost estimates cast doubt on the final estimate and made it unpersuasive even though the appraiser had amortized the cleanup estimate over five years. The court had also noted that Connecticut General Statutes, section 12-63e, provided that in determining the value of any property except residential for assessment purposes, the value shall not be reduced due to any contamination if that condition was caused by the owner or by a predecessor in title of which the owner had notice. For this reason also, the court felt that the cost of cleanup could not be deducted from the appraised value, even on an amortized basis.
CONCLUSIONS
From these cases, certain principles may be stated for those engaged in tax assessment of contaminated properties.
1. Statutes. Tax assessment proceedings must be conducted in accordance with statutes in effect on the date of valuation. Every contaminated land assessment case should include a review of applicable statutes.
2. Type of property. Residential, vacant, and farm properties may be subject to treatment different from that of industrial or commercial properties.
3. Type of contamination. Evidence should include the precise type of contamination, its location, and quantity. Merely to allege or claim direct soil contamination from leaks or spills, indirect contamination from chemicals such as PCBs in adjacent water courses, building contamination from asbestos or urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, or radon, pesticides, or radioactive materials is not enough.
4. Threat of contamination. Threat of contamination from adjacent properties must be carefully identified and quantified. If such threat is open and notorious and would have been considered by a prospective purchaser, proof must be adduced, such as by brokers in the market place who have witnessed the effect of such a threat on market value. In Morgan v. Conoco ( 1989), a $23 million settlement was apportioned among six groups. Several factors, including proximity to the site of contamination, were used to spread the settlement, and the case is instructive as to the methods used.
5. Remediation. Type of remediation, including disposal, removal, isolation, encapsulation, enclosure, and repair, should be carefully and completely established. The base or minimum cost, at least, should be established with clarity and particularity.
6. Remedial orders. Existence of remedial orders and progress and estimates or cost to date of remediation should be clearly established. Absence of remedial orders should similarly be noted.
7. Stigma. Post-cleanup market value may still be reduced below comparative non- contaminated values because of the stigma the market attaches to contaminated properties. Although the stigma may sometimes be removed or reduced by liability insurance if such a policy can be obtained, the stigma is real and should be recognized. Establishing a value for the stigma, if actual market data are not available, may be approached through survey research techniques to measure what the market is willing to

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Taxation of Business Property: Is Uniformity Still a Valid Norm?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vii
  • Foreword xi
  • 1: Taxation of Business Property Overview 1
  • Conclusion 21
  • 2: Perspectives on the Business Property Tax Base 25
  • Conclusions 43
  • Notes 43
  • 3: Emerging Legal Issues: Valuation and Expenditures Limitations, Toxic Waste Impacts, and Intangibles Valuation 45
  • Conclusion 61
  • Notes 62
  • 4: Uniformity as a Policy Objective 63
  • 5: Uniformity in the Context of Other Concerns 77
  • Conclusions 89
  • Notes 91
  • 6: Enforcement of Uniformity 93
  • Notes 109
  • 7: Business Property Tax Incentives and Economic Development 111
  • Appendix 7 Business Property Tax Incentives by State, 1992 124
  • 8: Special Problems in the Valuation of Business Property 139
  • Conclusion 149
  • 9: Tax Valuation of Contaminated Property 151
  • Conclusions 158
  • 10: Selected Business Property Taxation Issues: Personal Property 161
  • Notes 169
  • 11: Future Directions for Business Property Taxation 171
  • Notes 182
  • References 185
  • Index 195
  • CONTRIBUTORS 203
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