BEFORE THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION
Petitioner, : FINDINGS OF FACT,
: CONCLUSIONS OF LAW,
v. : AND FINAL DECISION
PROPERTY TAX DIVISION OF THE : Appeal No. 90-1281
UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION, :
STATEMENT OF CASE
This matter came before the Utah State Tax Commission for a formal hearing on XXXXX. Paul F. Iwasaki, Presiding Officer, heard the matter for and on behalf of the Commission. Present and representing the Petitioner was XXXXX. Present and representing the Respondent was XXXXX, Assistant Attorney General.
Based upon the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing, the Tax Commission hereby makes its:
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. The tax in question is property tax.
2. The period in question is XXXXX.
3. The subject property consists of a number of mining claims located in XXXXX, Utah, which total approximately XXXXX acres.
4. The subject property has some deposits of XXXXX, which is a XXXXX based mineral, but has no known commercial value. There is no known way to extract the oil from the XXXXX.
5. As of the lien date XXXXX, the property had not been used for any specific purpose. Because of the commercial valuelessness of the mineral deposits, no mining activities have taken place on the subject property.
6. The properties immediately surrounding the subject property are used for spring and early summer grazing. It was believed by the Petitioner that some of those herds very likely would cross unmarked boundary lines and graze upon the subject property.
7. For XXXXX, the Property Tax Division valued the subject property at its full market value. The market value of that property was determined by the values set by the XXXXX County Assessor's office for those comparable parcels which immediately surrounded the subject property. The county assessor had those parcels set at $$$$$ per acre. Based upon that figure, the Property Tax Division assessed the subject property at $$$$$.
8. Prior to XXXXX, mining claims had been valued at an arbitrary figure which had been set at $$$$$ an acre up to $$$$$ an acre. As a result of a legislative change in XXXXX, mining claims were to be assessed at XXXXX of fair market value.
9. The Petitioner argued that increase in assessed value from $$$$$ to $$$$$ was inappropriate, particularly in light of the fact that the XXXXX has no value or use whatsoever.
10. The Petitioner presented a letter of opinion as to the market value of the subject property as determined by an XXXXX designated real estate appraiser. That appraisal was based upon the sale of property located directly south of the subject property, which was XXXXX acres and sold in XXXXX. That sale was for $$$$$ per acre.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
All mines and mining claims except in cases, as determined by the Commission, where the mining claims are used for other than mining purposes, shall be assessed by the Commission at 100% of fair market value. (Utah Code Ann. §59-2-201.)
The Tax Commission is required to oversee the just administration of property taxes to ensure that property is valued for tax purposes according to fair market value. (Utah Code Ann. §59-1-210(7).)
The Petitioner has the burden of proof to establish that the market value of the subject property is other than that as determined by the Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
In the present case, the Tax Commission finds that the Petitioner has met his burden of proof to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the market value of the subject property is other than that as was determined by the Respondent. Specifically, the Petitioner presented a letter of opinion from an XXXXX certified real estate appraiser that estimated the market value of the subject property based upon comparable sales of properties located near the subject property.
Generally, a letter of opinion such as the one presented in the present case would not be sufficient to establish the market value of the subject property.
In this case, however, where the Respondent has not been able to establish the basis or reasonableness of the values as determined by the XXXXX County Assessor, such complete lack of evidence must give way to the evidence presented by the Petitioner.
Based upon the foregoing, the Tax Commission finds that the market value of the subject property as of XXXXX is $$$$$. It is so ordered.
DATED this 2l day of March, 1991.
BY ORDER OF THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION.
R. H. Hansen Roger O. Tew
Joe B. Pacheco G. Blaine Davis