Written by: Patrick Price
Oftentimes, clients can lose sight of the importance of timing, dates, and deadlines, instead turning their focus to other action items within the property tax process.
A perfect example of this occurrence is the recent litigation of a national retail corporation vs. the City of Baraboo, Wisconsin.
The retailer’s outside corporate tax counsel made a hefty mistake in filing their property taxes. A lawsuit was filed in Sauk County Circuit Court on January 18th, but the retailer did not pay its taxes until January 24th. Wisconsin Statues state that a corporate taxpayer can file a claim against the taxing district that collected the tax. However, the Court of Appeals has previously ruled that this language requires the payment of the tax prior to a claim to be ruled in favor of unlawful taxation. If the retailer is found to be in default for this technicality, there is no remedy for the tax year since the deadline to file suit was January 31st.
While this case is still awaiting an official ruling on the petition to dismiss, the judge has already informed the parties that if upon review of the documents and evidence is found that the payment was made after the suit was filed, they will have no choice but to grant dismissal.
So—what’s the lesson?
The outside counsel should have been aware of this timing requirement. They should have communicated with their client about the strategy and planning for their payment of tax versus filing the suit. Timing is vital to successful, accurate, and compliant property tax filings. An experienced property tax consultant could have added tremendous value to the property tax process.
DMA’s property tax consultants communicate with you to help manage the process and eliminate such common pitfalls regarding timing, dates, and deadlines. Contact us to learn more about our property tax services and how our team can help manage your tax portfolio.