Dept. of Rev. v. River's Edge Investments, LLCAnnotate this Case
The taxpayer who owned the convention center in Bend also owned a hotel across the street. The convention center and the hotel were held in different property tax accounts. For the 2008-09 tax year, Taxpayer’s appraisal valued the convention center at $4,130,000, after applying two different approaches to valuation, the cost approach and the income approach. The appraiser for the Deschutes County Assessor (assessor) and the Department of Revenue (department) appraised the convention center at $16,700,000, after applying only the cost approach to valuation. The Regular Division of the Tax Court rejected the department’s appraisal for two independent reasons: (1) Measure 50 (codified as Article XI, section 11, of the Oregon Constitution) and its enabling statutes required the property in each tax account to be valued separately; and (2) the department’s appraisal was unpersuasive because the appraiser lacked good reason for not having used the income approach. The Tax Court awarded taxpayer its attorney fees, concluding that the department’s position was not objectively reasonable and that the department should be deterred from making similar arguments in the future. The department and the assessor appealed, raising a narrow range of issues. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed the Tax Court’s decision to reject the department’s appraisal on the ground that it was unpersuasive. Because that independent reason supported the Tax Court’s decision, the Supreme Court affirmed its judgment, and did not reach the issue of whether Measure 50 required valuing the property in each property tax account separately. Because it was based in part on the Tax Court’s Measure 50 analysis, the Supreme Court vacated the award of attorney fees and remanded for further proceedings.