Monday, January 7, 2019

As Big Retailers Seek to Cut Their Tax Bills, Towns Bear the Brunt

New York Times
With astonishing range and rapidity, big-box retailers and corporate giants are using an aggressive legal tactic to shrink their property tax bills, a strategy that is costing local governments and school districts around the country hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

These businesses — many of them brick-and-mortar stores like Walmart, Home Depot, Target, Kohl’s, Menards and Walgreens that have faced fierce competition from online sites — maintain that no matter how valuable a thriving store is to its current owner, these warehouse-type structures are not worth much to anyone else, particularly as shuttered stores keep spreading across the landscape.

Therefore, the businesses argue in their tax appeals, the best way to appraise their property is to look at the sale prices of vacant or formerly vacant shells in other places. . . . more