In a recent commercial real estate tax appeal, a St. Louis County, Missouri (Clayton) hotel achieved an approximate $14,000,000 reduction in its appraised value in front of the Missouri State Tax Commission, representing a tax savings of over $1,500,000 over four years.
I am often asked by businesses whether an attorney is needed for commercial property tax appeals in front of the Missouri State Tax Commission. This question is most often asked by those that made the decision, for whatever reason, to represent themselves at their County’s Board of Equalization hearing. Those businesses mistakenly believe that the State Tax Commission hearing will be just as informal as their hearings in front of the Board of Equalization.
I am quick to dispel this misconception. Indeed, there are multiple reasons why an attorney is needed for commercial real estate tax appeals, aside from the formalities of a State Tax Commission hearing:
Following a commercial tax appeal to the State Tax Commission, Cinema 16, LLC (“Cinema”), a sixteen screen movie theater in Springfield, Missouri (Greene County), convinced a hearing officer to dramatically lower the tax assessment set by Greene County and, subsequently, the Board of Equalization. At the hearing, both Cinema and Greene County presented experts, and the hearing officer’s opinion highlights the importance of vetting an appraisal expert prior to trial.
In December 2014, I presented to other attorneys on Commercial Property Tax Appeals in front of Missouri Boards of Equalization and the Missouri State Tax Commission. The presentation was entitled “Commercial Property Tax Appeals: Strategies for Contesting Real Estate Tax Appraisals.”
In consolidated real estate tax appeals, SSM Health Care (“SSM”) successfully appealed the real estate property assessments dictated by the St. Charles County, Missouri Assessor (and sustained by the St. Charles County Board of Equalization) for tax years 2011 and 2012 on two of its properties. The appeals concerned two adjoining pieces of real estate: