Property Tax Law
“To lay with one hand the power of the government on the property of the citizen, and with the other to bestow it upon favored individuals to aid private enterprises and build up private fortunes, is none the less a robbery because it is done under the forms of law and is called taxation.” Supreme Court Justice Samuel F. Miller writing for the majority in Loan Association v. Topeka, 1874.
The property tax has become a very powerful and robust method by which local governments, especially schools, obtain the revenues they need to operate. Over time, the tax property has evolved into a major burden on taxpayers – particularly on property intensive businesses. Property taxes are meant to be a tax on accumulated wealth and governmental officials are either appointed or elected with the task of measuring the current value of each taxpayer’s wealth. Even the best intentioned governmental assessor or property appraiser is prone to make mistakes because of the number of properties and taxpayers within the jurisdiction, the scant resources devoted to the administration of their duties, and the time constraints imposed upon them by statutes and laws.
As former Chief Justice John Marshall said “The Power to tax involves the Power to destroy.” The beauty of the property tax, however, is that taxpayers have the right to audit the acts of government officials and to present evidence that the government has erred in the base valuation of the taxpayer’s property. Each and every jurisdiction that imposes a property tax has a long-standing and well established process by which taxpayers can appeal their property taxes and, if successful in that appeal, reduce the taxes imposed or even have prior excessive tax payments refunded.
Lawyers at Liston & Tsantilis, P.C. have a long and successful record of conducting property tax appeals and obtaining real estate tax incentives. We annually file a great number of property tax appeals and secure numerous real estate tax incentives on behalf of taxpayers ranging from Fortune 500 business entities to the small “mom and pop” enterprises. We have obtained significant reductions in the property tax burden for our clients and have even obtained huge refunds for many of them. Our lawyers are skilled in the presentation of property tax appeals at all levels – from informal meetings with local assessors to formal presentations before administrative boards to actual trials in courts and representation of matters before appellate or state supreme courts. Our record and our satisfied clients, many who have been with us for decades, speak to the quality of our skills and to our success.