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Taxation – Actual property | Massachusetts Attorneys Weekly

The place the Bedford Board of Assessors refused to abate a tax on actual property, there was no error, because the property proprietor failed to fulfill her burden of proving that the assessed worth of the topic property exceeded its honest money worth for fiscal 12 months 2021 and did not show prejudicial flaws with respect to the disposition of her utility for abatement.

“On the idea of the proof of file, the Presiding Commissioner discovered and dominated that the appellant failed to fulfill her burden of proving that the assessed worth of the topic property exceeded its honest money worth for the fiscal 12 months at difficulty. The Presiding Commissioner additional discovered and dominated that the appellant did not show prejudicial flaws with respect to the disposition of her utility for abatement.

“Accordingly, the Presiding Commissioner issued a choice for the appellee on this attraction. …

“As famous above, the appellant asserts that the Board of Assessors’ vote on her utility for abatement was flawed as a result of one Assessor and the Board of Selectmen Liaison weren’t current on the assembly at which her utility was denied. Nevertheless, no proof or authorized authority was supplied to assist the appellant’s assertion that the Board of Assessors did not comply with established procedures or relevant regulation when the 2 assessors current on the assembly accredited the denial.

“Likewise, the appellant maintains that the assessors violated established abatement procedures and precedent by failing to examine the topic property through the pendency of her attraction. The Presiding Commissioner discovered this argument to be with out advantage. Assessors have a statutory proper, however not an obligation, to examine property that’s the topic of an abatement utility. … The assessors selected to not examine the topic property, Covid having curtailed inside inspections, and the shortage of an inspection did nothing to impede the appellant’s means to prosecute her attraction. Curiously, the appellant’s personal documentary proof displays her reluctance to permit an inspection of the topic property.

“Lastly, the appellant criticizes the truth that a month elapsed between the assessors’ determination on her abatement utility and the issuance of a denial discover. Assessors are required, inside ten days after their determination on an utility for abatement, to ship written discover thereof to the applicant. G.L.c. 59, §63. The place assessors fail to present discover of their denial inside ten days, the [Appellate Tax] Board has discovered that the date of the discover of abatement denial is ineffective for the aim of figuring out when to start the working of the three-month attraction interval, however the abatement denial stays legitimate. … In different phrases, assessors’ inaction might prolong the time for submitting an attraction to the Board, however the denial is in any other case efficient. Within the prompt case, the appellant filed her Petition Beneath Formal Process with the Board on Might 13, 2021, and the timeliness of the attraction was not in query, i.e., the assessors’ failure to adjust to the ten-day requisite had no destructive impact on the appellant’s attraction rights. …

“Within the prompt case, the appellant argues that the honest money worth of the topic property for the fiscal 12 months at difficulty was $325,000, the sum one other proprietor of property on Springs Street supplied to pay for it in October of 2019, just a few months earlier than the related evaluation date. Though precise gross sales usually ‘furnish sturdy proof of market worth’ they have to be arm’s-length transactions that pretty symbolize what a purchaser on the open market is prepared to pay for the property. … A suggestion for property that has not been uncovered to the market doesn’t fulfill the arms-length requirement.

“The appellant additionally asserts that the assessors did not take note of the poor situation of the topic residence. Nevertheless, images of the topic residence submitted to the Board by each the appellant and the appellee, in addition to the appellant’s present and prior 12 months abatement purposes, point out that by the evaluation date for the fiscal 12 months at difficulty, substantial enhancements had been made to the topic residence, warranting a change within the property’s situation issue. Furthermore, by characterizing the bodily situation of the property as ‘honest’ for the fiscal 12 months at difficulty, the assessors acknowledged apparent deferred upkeep and the necessity for constructing element repairs, rehabilitation, or updating. In sum, the Presiding Commissioner discovered that the appellant supplied just about no proof to ascertain that the assessors had failed correctly to consider the topic residence’s situation as of the related evaluation date. …

“Exterior components that the appellant asserts negatively impacted the worth of her property, together with neighbors’ actions and Bedford’s ‘poor water high quality,’ had been unproven. Furthermore, the appellant did not submit any proof quantifying their claimed affect on the topic property’s honest money worth. Accordingly, the Presiding Commissioner gave no weight to the appellant’s arguments. …”

Walker v. Board of Assessors of the City of Bedford (Attorneys Weekly No. 20-013-23) (13 pages) (Commissioner Elliott issued a single-member determination) (Docket No. F342573) (March 17, 2023).

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