Update: Commercial Property Tax
Appraisal Lawsuits Appealed in May 2023
By Lee D. Winston | July 3, 2023
For the month of May there were two commercial property tax appraisal lawsuits appealed from district court.
Oncor Electric Delivery Company NTU LLC v. Armstrong County Appraisal District and Armstrong County Appraisal Review Board, No. 07-23-00186-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo)
Primary Tax Code Section at Issue: Tex. Tax Code §§ 1.111(e), 25.25(c)(1), (3).
Appellee Trial Argument: Oncor cannot circumvent a prior Section 1.111(e) agreement regarding the appraised value of its transmission lines by lodging motions pursuant to Section 25.25(c)(1) (clerical error) and (c)(3) (form or location). Oncor’s tax agent entered into a Section 1.111(e) agreement regarding the total value of the transmission lines. Challenging the inputs of the valuation through Section 25.25(c)(1), (3) is inappropriate. The Section 1.111(e) agreement is final and the court lacks jurisdiction. Further, a Section 1.111(e) agreement cannot be voided due to mutual mistake because it is not a contract. Appellee cited the following cases and alleged they dealt with the same issue: Wilbarger County Appraisal District v. Oncor Electric Delivery Company NTU, LLC, No. 07-21-00264-CV, 2022 WL 14504688 (Tex. App.—Amarillo Oct. 25, 2022, no pet. h.).
Appellant Trial Argument: The Section 1.111(e) agreement does not cover what the Section 25.25(c)(1), (3) motions seek to correct. Armstrong CAD erroneously valued Oncor’s 345kV transmission line using the wrong mileage due to information provided by Oncor’s predecessor in interest’s tax agent. This is a clerical error and is an assessment of property that does not exist in the form or location of Armstrong County. In the alternative, if the Section 1.111(e) does preclude Oncor’s Section 25.25(c)(1), (3) motions, then it is voidable by way of a mutual mistake of fact between the tax agent and Armstrong CAD.
Disposition: Plea to the Jurisdiction.
Appellate Case Number: 07-23-00186-CV.
Appeal Date: May 4, 2023.
Appeals Court: 7th Court of Appeals, Amarillo, Texas.
District Court: 47th Judicial District Court, of Armstrong County, Texas.
Attorneys Involved: Oncor Electric Delivery Company NTU LLC: Marnie A. McCormick, David H. Gilliland, Jo A. Merica of Duggins, Wren Mann & Romero, LLP; Armstrong County Appraisal District: Carol Elizabeth Barton, Kyle Dickson, Chstopher Scott Jackson, Sandra Griffin, and Dylan Wood of Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott, L.L.P.; Armstrong County Appraisal Review Board: N/A.
To follow this appeal: click the following link (or copy and paste): https://search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=07-23-00186-CV&coa=coa07.
Nicholas Lee v. Hood County Appraisal District, No. 02-23-00176-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth)
Primary Tax Code Section at Issue: Tex. Tax Code §§ 23.01(b), 11.14.
Appellee Trial Argument: Plaintiff’s lawsuit challenges the appraisal review board order, not the chief appraiser’s original appraisal pursuant to Section 23.01. Further, Plaintiff has no evidence, and has refused to provide any evidence, that the personal property he owns is not held or used for the production of income. The subject property consists of such things as pickups, a trencher, trailers, and various tools used in the Plaintiff’s landscaping business and is not exempt pursuant to Section 11.14 of the Texas Tax Code.
Appellant Trial Argument: There was no legal appraisal allowed by law for tax years 2021 and 2022 and therefore Plaintiff’s personal property should be valued at zero. Section 23.01(b) states “each property shall be appraised based upon the individual characteristics that affect the property’s market value, and all available evidence that is specific to the value of the property shall be taken into account in determining the property’s market value.” Defendants did not do this. “Defendants appraised a picture of real property sitting at a computer, violating constitutional and statutory rights of Plaintiff.” Further, the personal property is not owned by Plaintiff for the purposes of production of income, therefore it is exempt pursuant to Section 11.14 of the Texas Tax Code. “Plaintiff’s only source of potential income is as an employee, manager, and member of Lee Exceptional Investments, LLC d/b/c Exceptional Landscape. Plaintiff’s personal property is not used for the production of income.”
Disposition: Motion for Summary Judgment.
Appellate Case Number: 02-23-00176-CV.
Appeal Date: May 18, 2023.
Appeals Court: 2nd Court of Appeals, Fort Worth, Texas.
District Court: 355th Judicial District Court, of Hood County, Texas.
Attorneys Involved: Nicholas Lee: S. Gary Werley of Padfield & Stout, LLP; Hood County Appraisal District: Ryan L. James of Low Swinney Evans & James, PLLC.
To follow this appeal: click the following link (or copy and paste): https://search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=02-23-00176-CV&coa=coa02.