LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.5

Help for MUNINET Archives


MUNINET Archives

MUNINET Archives


MUNINET@LIST.UVM.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Monospaced Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

MUNINET Home

MUNINET Home

MUNINET  August 2000

MUNINET August 2000

Subject:

Re: Fw: Should BCA Decisions Include Notice of Appellant's Right

From:

John Howland <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 18 Aug 2000 18:25:06 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (124 lines)

As both an old tax assessor and former English teacher, I'm uncomfortable
with any line of reasoning that concludes that we should refrain from
telling the citizens something about their tax options because we might
confuse them.

Seems to me that the English language offers sufficient resources to allow
us to keep folks fully informed -- we just have to be careful to do it
right.

Perhaps it would be useful here to differentiate between what public
officials are legally REQUIRED to do and what else we OUGHT to do anyway,
without any legal requirement.

I'd come down on the side of full (and carefully worded) disclosure about a
taxpayer's options at every step of the way.

John Howland Jr.
Burlington

------Original Message------
From: Charles Merriman <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: August 18, 2000 5:40:20 PM GMT
Subject: Fw: Should BCA Decisions Include Notice of Appellant's Right



Hi Listers, Selectboard Members, JPs, Town Clerks and others interested in
BCA tax appeal procedures:

As many of you know, a recent superior court decision held in the context of
a delinquent tax sale that towns must give taxpayers adequate notice of
their right to request abatement of taxes and the procedure for doing so
before selling the taxpayer's property. In the words of the court, a ". .
.Town must provide [a property owner] with an adequate notice of her right
to apply for tax abatement, before the Town can validly acquire her property
by means of a tax sale." Town of Windsor v. Blanchard, Docket Number
S528-11-99 Wrcv (April 4, 2000).

The question has come up whether BCA decisions should also notify appellants
of their right to apply for tax abatement. In my opinion, the court's
reasoning in the Blanchard case -- a tax sale case --- does not apply to BCA
decisions. I also believe that adding this additional information to your
BCA decisions, while not wrong, is unnecessary and may prove confusing.
Therefore, I recommend that you not include notice and explanation of the
taxpayer's right to seek tax abatement in your BCA decisions.

The Blanchard case addressed the process required by law when the government
seeks to deprive an individual of a property interest through a tax sale.
(Protections against the deprivation of property without due process of law
are contained in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution and
Chapter I, Article 10 of the Vermont Constitution.) By comparison, most BCA
cases address the proper assessed value that should be applied to a
property. BCA decisions do not threaten to deprive anyone of a property
interest. Therefore, the constitutional imperative that the government
provide notice of one's right to seek abatement before depriving a person of
property is not at issue in assessment appeals and the analysis supporting
the superior court's decision does not really apply to BCA decisions. There
are rather extensive procedural rights that apply by statute to assessment
appeals; i.e., the right to receive notice, the right to be heard, the right
to a reasoned and timely decision, the right to be inspected by a committee
of the BCA, the right to appeal, etc. In my view, the BCA meets its due
process obligations when it fulfills these statutory mandates. In my view,
BCAs do not have to apprise taxpayers of their right to seek abatement also.

Having said all that, I suspect that some BCAs will consider erring on the
side of caution by including abatement information in their decision notices
anyway. Is there any harm in doing that? Perhaps not. However before you
do so, you may want to consider the confusion likely to arise from including
this information in a BCA decision.

As you know, Boards of Abatement do not have authority to abate or otherwise
alter assessments. They do, under a narrow set of circumstances, have the
authority to "abate in whole or in part taxes, interest, and collection fees
accruing to the town . . ." 24 VSA 1535. Accrue means "to come into
existence as a claim that is legally enforceable." The American Heritage
College Dictionary, 9 (3rd ed. 1997). Since there is often no tax that has
accrued at the time the BCA sends out its decision (indeed no issued tax
bill to abate), the Board of Abatement can't really hear the taxpayer's
request and would have to dismiss the request.

Therefore, at its best, including abatement information in a BCA decision is
only a "heads up" to the taxpayer that sometime down the line, after the tax
bill has issued and after the taxpayer has exhausted his/her appeal rights,
the taxpayer may seek abatement for the tax that has accrued. Including an
explanation of an inchoate right in a BCA decision regarding a non-existent
tax bill probably will create confusion for the taxpayer.

For example, imagine that a taxpayer mistakenly interprets the notice to
mean that there is a third avenue of appeal from the BCA -- the Board of
Abatement. Since appearing before the Board of Abatement costs nothing, and
since appeals to superior court cost $150 and appeals to the state
appraisers cost $30, the taxpayer may think the best choice is the Board of
Abatement. This hypothetical, unfortunate taxpayer comes before the board,
comparables in hand, cost sheets in hand, only to find that the Board can't
hear him because his tax hasn't accrued yet. Even if his tax has accrued,
the taxpayer may find that he doesn't meet the "unable to pay" criterion nor
any of the other 7 narrow criteria for abatement requests. There are all
his old friends sitting as the Board of Abatement (BCA members along with
the listers and town treasurer constitute the Board of Abatement). And
these people who apprised him of his right to go before the Board of
Abatement now tell him he doesn't have a cognizable basis for being before
them. Then they tell him he loses. Then he finds out that his other
avenues of appeal have expired. With some justification, that taxpayer
(whose assessment arguments could be right, after all) may feel slightly
beleaguered. In fairness to that taxpayer, I recommend that the town find
some other way to apprise its community of the existence of the Board of
Abatement.

BCA decisions should, of course, continue to include the language informing
the taxpayer of his/her appeal rights beyond the BCA.

I hope these notes help. Please e-mail me at [log in to unmask] if
you have any follow-up questions.

Charles L. Merriman
Attorney for the Division of Property Valuation and Review, Vermont
Department of Taxes


______________________________________________
FREE Personalized Email at Mail.com
Sign up at http://www.mail.com/?sr=signup

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LIST.UVM.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager