BEFORE THE STATE TAX COMMISSION OF UTAH
CERTAIN PARCELS OF PROPERTY )
LOCATED IN UTAH COUNTY, :
STATE OF UTAH. ) Appeal Nos. 86 0464 to
: 86 0466
) Serial Nos:
STATEMENT OF CASE
The Utah State Tax Commission took original jurisdiction of this matter pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 59-5-47 (1953). An Informal Hearing was held on XXXXX. James E. Harward, Hearing Officer, heard the matter for the Utah State Tax Commission. XXXXX appeared as owner of the subject property. XXXXX, Utah County Treasurer, XXXXX, Utah County Assessor's office, XXXXX, Utah County Assessor, and XXXXX, Deputy County Attorney, represented Utah County.
XXXXX timely appeared before the Utah County Board of Equalization to protest the XXXXX valuation of the subject property. The County Board of Equalization reduced the valuation of the subject property, and based on this reduction, XXXXX requested a reduction in the property value for previous years. The subject property consists of subdivision lots in which improvements (curb, gutter, sidewalks, and streets) were never constructed. Apparently, the property was valued as though there were improvements. When the XXXXX County Board of Equalization reduced the XXXXX valuation of the subject property, it reserved making a decision on the valuation of the parcels for previous years.
XXXXX subsequently appeared before the County Board of Equalization in a regular monthly personal property meeting to request a final decision on the valuation of the subject property for years prior to XXXXX. In XXXXX, the County Board of Equalization granted XXXXX relief on the valuation of the subject property for years prior to XXXXX.
At the informal hearing, it was argued that the Board of County Commissioners has authority pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 59-10-58 (Supp. 1986) to accept less than the amount due where taxes are unpaid. It was also argued, however, that where the Board of County Commissioners accepts less than the amount due under this section, it is prohibited from considering issues of valuation. It was conceded that the Utah Board of County Commissioners may have the authority to accept less than the amount due where taxes are unpaid; however, that this authority should be exercised with great discretion and pursuant to the statute.
1. Utah Code Ann. § 59-7-1 (Supp. 1986) provides for the Board of County Commissioners to sit as a County Board of Equalization for certain periods of time each year to hold public hearings in which taxpayers dissatisfied with valuations as assessed by the County Assessor may have an opportunity to appear.
2. Utah Code Ann. § 59-7-3 (1953) requires the person requesting reduction in the valuation of the property to file a verified application for reduction in the valuation and to appear before the County Board of Equalization to show facts upon which it is claimed such reduction should be made.
3. Attorney General Opinion, No. 63028 (May 2, 1963) concludes that the provisions of Title 59, Chapter 7, of the Utah Code indicate that the County Boards of Equalization have no power to adjust valuations for years in which no protest of valuation was made. Id. at 4. The County Boards of Equalization are not given express authority to adjust the valuation for previous years, and the annual cyclical pattern of property assessment, review, and equalization outlined in Utah Code Ann. § 59-7-1 (Supp. 1986) indicates that adjustment will be made only during the year of the original assessment.
4. Utah Code Ann. § 59-10-58 (Supp. 1986) provides that where property is sold to the county and is subsequently assessed, no person shall be permitted to redeem the property from such sale without also paying the amount of the subsequent assessment plus additional costs. However, this section allows the Board of County Commissioners to accept an amount less than the full amount due where it is, in the judgment of the Board of County Commissioners, in the best human interest and in the interest of the State where the Board of County Commissioners accepts less than the amount due pursuant to this section, the Board is not sitting as the County Board of Equalization. The person attempting to redeem the property and pay less than the full amount due must submit a statement to the Board of County Commissioners setting forth certain matters. The County Commissioners may waive or abate the taxes after making a written record of the reasons. No such record was made, nor was proper application made by the Petitioner.
DECISION AND ORDER
Based on the foregoing, it is the Decision and Order of the Utah State Tax Commission that the Utah County Board of Equalization was without authority to adjust the valuation of the subject property for tax years prior to XXXXX. The Commissioner further finds that the County Board of Commissioners did not comply with Utah code 59-10-58. Therefore, the actions taken by the Board of Commissioners under color of said section are set aside. The County Auditor is hereby ordered to assess and collect the taxes on the subject property without waiver, reduction or abatement.
DATED this 21 day of January, 1987.
BY ORDER OF THE STATE TAX COMMISSION OF UTAH.
R. H. Hansen Roger O. Tew
Joe B. Pacheco G. Blaine Davis