State high court says counties can appeal property tax reductions
The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled counties can appeal decisions by the State Board of Equalization that reduce property taxes.
While the decision involved a dispute in Mineral County, Carson City officials say it will allow them to appeal in a dispute with Carson-Tahoe Hospital that, they argue, didn’t even belong in front of the Board of Equalization.
Mineral County sought to have district court review the board’s decision cutting taxes for DZHC, the contractor at the Hawthorne Ammunition Depot, from $1 million a year to $275,000. But the company moved to block the suit arguing the county doesn’t have the right to appeal. Company lawyers said Nevada Revised Statute doesn’t provide local governments the right to appeal decisions of the board of equalization and a district judge agreed.
But the Supreme Court this week reversed that ruling saying NRS allows any party to seek judicial review of a state agency decision.
Carson City Assessor Dave Dawley said that gives his office a chance to overturn a bad precedent. He said when Carson-Tahoe Hospital became a private nonprofit corporation in 2003, their property should have gone on the tax rolls. The property operating as a hospital, he said, is exempt. But undeveloped property and non-hospital lands owned by the hospital should be taxed.
The hospital appealed saying they should be exempt, period, and the state board of equalization agreed.
Dawley said it’s not the money but the precedent which concerns his office. He said the taxes involved are only about $6,800 a year and both sides have probably spent significantly more than that in legal fees alone.
He said Carson-Tahoe owns several pieces of land in addition to the hospital itself which should be taxed.
In addition, he said, the question whether the land is exempt doesn’t even belong before the board of equalization.