BEFORE THE Department of REVENUE
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 42.20.102, 42.20.106, 42.20.156, 42.20.171, 42.20.173, 42.20.301, 42.20.454, 42.20.455, 42.20.501, 42.20.502, 42.20.503, 42.20.505, 42.20.516, 42.20.602, 42.20.615, 42.20.620, 42.20.640, and 42.20.725 and repeal of ARM 42.20.509, 42.20.510, 42.20.517, and 42.20.621 pertaining to property classification, appraisal, valuation, and exemptions
NOTICE OF AMENDMENT AND REPEAL
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On October 15, 2015, the Department of Revenue published MAR Notice No. 42-2-942 pertaining to the public hearing on the proposed amendment and repeal of the above-stated rules at page 1709 of the 2015 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 19.
2. On November 5, 2015, a public hearing was held to consider the proposed amendment and repeal. Merv Gunderson from American Legion Post 30 in Belgrade; Reverend Scott Wipperman from the First Presbyterian Church in Helena; Brad Robinson from the Archie Bray Foundation; and Bob Story, Executive Director of the Montana Taxpayers Association, appeared and testified at the hearing. Mr. Story provided his comments in written form as well. The department also received written comments from Sheila Rice, Executive Director of NeighborWorks, in Great Falls, and Matthew Brower, Executive Director of the Montana Catholic Conference.
3. The department amends ARM 42.20.106, 42.20.156, 42.20.171, 42.20.173, 42.20.454, 42.20.455, 42.20.501, 42.20.502, 42.20.503, 42.20.505, 42.20.516, 42.20.602, 42.20.615, 42.20.620, 42.20.640, and 42.20.725 and repeals ARM 42.20.509, 42.20.510, 42.20.517, and 42.20.621 as proposed, effective January 1, 2016.
4. Based upon the comments received and after further review, the department amends ARM 42.20.102 and 42.20.301 as proposed, effective January 1, 2016, but with the following changes from the original proposal, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:
42.20.102 APPLICATIONS FOR PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS (1) The property owner of record, the property owner's agent, or a federally recognized tribe must file an application for a property tax exemption on a form available from the local department office before March 1, except as provided in ARM 42.20.118, of the year for which the exemption is sought. All first time exemption applicants in 2016 and all owners of real property that was exempt
as of prior to March 1, 2014, must submit an application for exempt status along with the application fee stated in (16)(17) no later than March 1, 2016 in order for the application to be processed for tax year 2016. Applications postmarked after March 1 will be considered for the following tax year only, unless the department determines any of the following conditions are met:
(a) through (c) remain as proposed.
(2) The department may extend the March 1 deadline to June 1, for tax year 2016, if the applicant was unable to apply for the current year due to a physical or mental infirmity that existed between January 1 and June 1 of the tax year in which the applicant is applying that prevented timely filing of the application.
(3) The department may extend the March 1 deadline to June 1, for tax year 2016, on a case-by-case basis, if the property on the application was exempt in a year prior to 2014, and the applicant:
(a) submits a written statement, plus any supporting documentation, explaining any circumstances that prevented timely filing of the application; and
(b) provides a completed application, including all applicable supporting documentation, postmarked no later than June 1 of the year for which benefit is sought.
(2) through (2)(c)(ii) remain as proposed, but are renumbered (4) through (4)(c)(ii).
(iii) stating the specific use of the real or personal property
(d) has not been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS, as stated by the applicant that such exemption does not exist.
(3) through (10) remain as proposed, but are renumbered (5) through (12).
(11)(13) For real property exemption applications where the applicant is requesting an 8-year exemption for up to 15 acres of property owned by a purely public charity, as set forth in 15-6-201, MCA, the following apply:
(a) all documents in
(5)(7) must be submitted with the application;
(b) and (c) remain as proposed.
(d) the department shall notify the applying entity that the application has been approved and a notice of exemption on the property has been filed with the county clerk and recorder;
(e) through (h) remain as proposed.
(12)(14) For real property exemption applications where the applicant is requesting exemption for property used for low-income housing, as set forth in 15-6-221, MCA, all documents in (2)(4) must be submitted with the application and also include:
(a) through (h) remain as proposed.
(13) remains as proposed, but is renumbered (15).
(14)(16) If the property is owned by a governmental entity (such as city, county, or state), the federal government (unless Congress has passed legislation allowing the state to tax property owned by a federal entity), tribal government, nonprofit irrigation districts organized under Montana law, municipal corporations, public libraries, or rural fire districts and other entities providing fire protection under Title 7, chapter 33, MCA, the department will employ the following exemption criteria for real property when considering exemption claims based upon 15-6-201, MCA:
(a) and (b) remain as proposed.
(c) if a property is tax-exempt, as stated in
(12)(14)(b), and is sold as tax-deed property to a nonqualifying purchaser after January 1 of the current tax year, it becomes taxable on January 1 following the execution of such contract or deed as provided in 7-8-2307, MCA; and
(d) remains as proposed.
(15)(17) Real property exemption renewal applications must provide the documentation specified in this rule and also include a copy of IRS form 990 identifying the gross receipts of the entire organization. If IRS form 990 is not available, a copy of the current year's financial statements may be substituted. When multiple properties are being applied for, the payments may be consolidated and submitted on one instrument. The instrument must clearly identify the individual properties for which the payments are being made and the amount paid for each property. Real property exemption renewal applications will be charged a processing fee as follows:
(a) $15 for vacant land parcels
1 acre or less;
(b) $20 for parcels 1 acre or less with one improvement and no complex structures;
(c) $35 for parcels 1 acre or less with one improvement with complex structures;
(d) $35 for parcels 1 acre or more (land and/or buildings); or
(b) $25 for parcels with improvements; or
(e)(c) $0 for nonprofit entities with gross receipts less than $5,000.
42.20.301 APPLICATION FOR CLASSIFICATION AS NONPRODUCTIVE, PATENTED MINING CLAIM (1) The property owner of record or the property owner's agent must make application to the department to secure classification of the owner's land as a nonproductive, patented mining claim. To be considered for the current tax year, an application must be filed on a form available from the department within 30 days after receiving a classification and appraisal notice from the department
, whichever is later. The form must be filed with the department.
(2) and (3) remain as proposed.
5. The department has thoroughly considered the comments received. A summary of the comments and the department's responses are as follows:
COMMENT 1: Regarding the proposed amendments to ARM 42.20.102, Merv Gunderson, representing American Legion Post 30 in Belgrade, asked why, if all of the documentation was provided in 2014, there is a change now that requires them to provide new paperwork to receive a property tax exemption. He stated that there are many American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts (VFW) across the state with buildings and property, some that have been donated to the posts and are not functional, and again asked why it is necessary to repeat the process. He commented that Post 30 received a donation of land that they are currently trying to donate to a state agency and asked if it will have to be assessed. He further commented that his post has been providing information to the department for the past twenty years or so and does not understand why it all has to be resubmitted if 15-6-203, MCA, has not changed.
RESPONSE 1: The department appreciates Mr. Gunderson's comments and questions. The purpose of the new statute passed in 2015 was to establish a current and accurate list of all exempt properties and to have all exemptions processed in a uniform and consistent manner as set forth in current law.
Exemption laws have changed over the years, and the information the department currently has on file may no longer be accurate. To ensure that the information on file with the department is current and accurate, applicants need to provide the department with updated documentation to prove that the applicant continues to qualify for exemption. Applicants that were granted exemptions in tax years 2014 or 2015 are not required to reapply.
As to Mr. Gunderson's question regarding the land donated to Post 30: it should be exempt so long as the land meets the statutory requirements for the exemption.
COMMENT 2: Mr. Gunderson further commented that it is his understanding that the veterans' clubhouse exemption exempts American Legion clubhouses from property taxes. Post 30 changed their name and applied for the exemption in 2014. Does the proposed rule change require the post to go through the application process once again?
RESPONSE 2: Post 30 would not need to reapply if they applied and the department granted an exemption in tax years 2014 or 2015.
COMMENT 3: Reverend Scott Wipperman, representing the First Presbyterian Church in Helena, requested clarification on the two-year deadline in ARM 42.20.102, and asked if church properties will need to reapply or if churches are exempt from the proposed rule change.
RESPONSE 3: The department appreciates Reverend Wipperman's comments and questions. Churches and other entities are required to reapply in 2016, unless they applied for and were granted exemption in tax years 2014 or 2015.
Churches are not exempt from the reapplication required by the new law or by the proposed rule change that implements the new law if they applied for and were granted exemption prior to tax year 2014.
COMMENT 4: Matthew Brower, Executive Director of the Montana Catholic Conference (MCC), commented that the rule amendment could place a significant administrative burden on both of the Roman Catholic dioceses of Montana. The applicable statute and proposed rules appear to envision situations where owners of real property have relatively few parcels that qualify for tax-exempt treatment. This does not reflect the situation of the Roman Catholic Church in Montana.
Mr. Brower explained that the Roman Catholic Church owns hundreds of individual parcels of tax-exempt real property for which exemption renewal application must be submitted due to the enactment of HB 389. While the documentation requirements set forth in ARM 42.20.102(5) for an individual renewal application are not burdensome, providing this for hundreds of individual parcels will require a significant investment of time. Because the church is organized as a corporation solely in each diocese, the renewal application process places a significant burden on financial services departments with limited resources. Pulling and reproducing archived documents and producing proof and determining fees for each parcel will require considerable time and effort. Compliance with the proposed rules could require the financial services departments to hire temporary help. Mr. Brower also noted that the proposed rules require those submitting renewal applications to provide information already available to the department via the Montana cadastral.
Mr. Brower commented that it is unclear whether or not entities that own multiple tax-exempt parcels will be required to submit individual renewal applications for each parcel or whether such entities will be permitted to submit a bulk renewal. For entities such as the two Roman Catholic dioceses in Montana, a streamlined bulk renewal application could facilitate compliance and somewhat ease the administrative burden such organizations otherwise face. A simplified process would also be more in accord with the intent expressed by the sponsor of HB 389. Representative Essmann made it clear he did not want the reapplication process to impose a significant burden on owners of tax-exempt real properties. However, that is precisely what the department's proposed amendments will do to organizations like the Roman Catholic dioceses of Montana.
For the reasons submitted by Mr. Brower, the MCC urges the department to reconsider the proposed amendments to ARM 42.20.102 and modify them to reduce the administrative burden they threaten to impose on their dioceses and other organizations owning large numbers of parcels entitled to tax-exempt treatment.
RESPONSE 4: The department appreciates MCC's comments and understands how it may be burdened when required to provide multiple documents for the hundreds of parcels for which they are seeking an exemption. Many existing exempt entities, however, have received approval for property tax exemptions from various authorities for more than 50 years, without ever providing updated documentation. The impetus behind the new law and the reapplication process is to update the department's records. Separate records are maintained for each individual parcel. The department determines whether to grant an exemption on a per parcel basis. Therefore, it is imperative that the department receive sufficient information on each parcel for which the entity is seeking exemption.
COMMENT 5: Regarding ARM 42.20.102(15), as proposed, Mr. Brower commented that in addition to requiring payment of a renewal application fee, significant documentation must accompany the renewal application, including a copy of IRS form 990 identifying the gross receipts of the entire organization. However, because Roman Catholic dioceses and parishes are not required to file an IRS form 990, the MCC suggests that the rule explicitly exempt those entities not required to file such a form from this requirement.
RESPONSE 5: The department appreciates MCC's comment regarding the filing of Form 990s with the Internal Revenue Service. Montana's exemption application law allows entities with gross receipts of $5,000 or less to not pay the department's administrative fee to process their real property tax exemption application. The department must have sufficient information to allow it to determine which applicants qualify for the fee exemption. The department understands MCC's concern and has amended ARM 42.20.102(17) to allow entities who do not file the Form 990 to submit financial statements reflecting gross receipts. As amended, the rule will also allow for consolidated payments on multiple properties.
COMMENT 6: Reverend Wipperman inquired how the department is going to notify nonprofit organizations of the proposed new requirement. Nonprofits are generally staffed mostly with volunteers. He stated that he only accidently found out about this new requirement because one of the church's employees is also a part-time employee of another nonprofit that subscribes to a newsletter that contained the information. He commented that it is likely many nonprofits are completely unaware of this requirement and with this 60-day window from January 1 through March 1, he wonders if the department is effectually raising taxes on nonprofits because they will fail to notice this. He asked what is being done to notify the nonprofits that they need to reapply for their exemptions.
RESPONSE 6: The department shares Reverend Wipperman's concerns. The tight timing between the new law taking effect and the statutory filing date has created a challenge for the department with regard to the notification process. The department mailed an application and cover letter to property owners whose property was exempted prior to tax year 2014. The cover letter explains that the new law requires reapplication by March 1, 2016. The department began mailing the applications and letters in early December.
The Property Assessment Division is also working closely with the department's Public Information Office to arrange for print and broadcast news media coverage to be distributed across the state and in organization membership newsletters of nonprofits and other owners of tax-exempt property. The department issued a statewide news release on November 30.
The department asked for and received some good suggestions for getting the word out at the public hearing on these rules, and remains open to more suggestions from the public.
Additionally, the department may waive the March 1, 2016, deadline for tax year 2016 if a physical or mental infirmity existed at sufficient levels between January 1 and June 1, 2016, which prevented timely filing on March 1, 2016. The department may also waive the March 1 deadline to June 1, 2016, for tax year 2016 only, if the real property taxpayer or entity received an exemption prior to 2014 and the applicant submits a written statement along with any documents explaining the circumstances that prevented the timely filing of the application and provides a completed application postmarked no later than June 1, 2016. The department has added this waiver language to ARM 42.20.102.
COMMENT 7: Reverend Wipperman also asked what is required in the reapplication process. Is it a restating of the nonprofit entity's name and checking a box on a form? He said the packet Mr. Gunderson presented at the hearing seemed to indicate that the process would be fairly involved. Reverend Wipperman also questioned if 60 days is adequate for an organization to assemble the necessary information.
RESPONSE 7: Reverend Wipperman brings forth good questions. The required supporting documentation for all organizations will include their articles of incorporation if the applicant is a corporation; the constitution or by-laws if the applicant is not a corporation; the deed to the property; their Federal Internal Revenue Service Tax Exempt Status letter; a photograph of the building; and a letter of specific use for the property. For example, if applying for a religious exemption the letter of specific use would state how the property is used such as religious worship, Sunday school, bible study, etc.
Additional supporting documentation may be required if applying for exemption types such as educational, nonprofit healthcare, parsonage, cemetery or low-income housing.
COMMENT 8: Brad Robinson, of the Archie Bray Foundation, attempted to clarify some of the confusion by stating that it is his understanding that while specific codes may not have changed, there are new rules and code updates that require the new applications.
RESPONSE 8: The department appreciates Mr. Robinson's effort to help clear up confusion. His understanding is correct. House Bill (HB) 389 identified specific types of exemptions that are required to submit an updated application. Whether or not a statute covering a specific type of entity changed, if the relevant statute was included in HB 389, that entity (exemption type) is required by the new law to reapply in 2016.
COMMENT 9: Mr. Gunderson asked about the fee involved with reapplying, stating that they have paid fees twice for the two applications the post has submitted and wondering if it is a different fee; a more expensive fee; or just an add-on fee to make the department some revenue.
RESPONSE 9: The department has not historically charged a fee to apply for property tax exemption in the past. The fee for this reapplication is now required by statute. The fees will help to offset the costs associated with processing the new applications.
To make the fee schedule simpler and easier for applicants to understand, the department has amended it to eliminate two payment tiers. The amended schedule retains the $0 fee for certain nonprofit entities and the $15 fee for vacant land. The change replaced three fees ranging from $20 to $35 with a single $25 fee for land with improvements and/or structures.
COMMENT 10: Mr. Gunderson asked about the department using e-mail to inform currently registered nonprofits of the new requirements. He advised that many of the legion posts do not use e-mail and that they mostly communicate with their members directly during community activities.
RESPONSE 10: If the nonprofit is currently exempt, and if their mailing address on file with the department is also current, they will receive a cover letter via postal mail with information and a new application in December.
The department also notified associations and organizations affiliated with smaller nonprofit entities and asked for assistance in informing those entities that wouldn't otherwise be directly contacted because they are not currently in the department's database.
COMMENT 11: Bob Story, Executive Director of the Montana Taxpayers Association (MonTax), asked how long the department has been collecting information on nonprofits and if there is a possibility that there are some that are not on any mailing lists the department can use for notification of the new filing requirements.
RESPONSE 11: The department appreciates Mr. Story's question. It is very likely that there are many smaller nonprofit entities not on any of the department's current mailing lists. The exemption application process has not always been handled by the department and was not centralized in the Helena office until 1981. Prior to that there was little documentation collected on exempt properties in Montana. The department will use any available resources to notify smaller nonprofits of the necessity to reapply.
COMMENT 12: Mr. Story stated that MonTax appreciates the department's work on these particular rules.
He further commented that the issue of notifying the nonprofits is of significant importance and provided suggestions for achieving that goal, such as notifying the council of churches, contacting organizations that may be useful in disseminating the information, and sending out a general press release.
Mr. Story also stated that he has some concerns about locating the small, more isolated, nonprofits and making the process of payments as painless as possible. He commented that it is his understanding that larger nonprofits have a requirement to file with the Attorney General's Office so there may be a way to coordinate with that entity for additional information.
Mr. Robinson also advised that he has past experience with the Montana Nonprofit Association and recommends them as a source for contacting the nonprofits in the state to advise them of the new filing requirements.
RESPONSE 12: The department shares the concern about getting the word out and appreciates and will consider these suggestions. The department issued a statewide news release on November 30.
COMMENT 13: Mr. Story asked if the March 1 deadline is set by statute or by rule.
RESPONSE 13: The March 1 deadline is set by statute.
COMMENT 14: Mr. Robinson asked if it is a one-time reapplication fee, will it be ongoing every "x" number of years, or be required annually?
RESPONSE 14: An entity will be required to pay the initial application fee in 2016. If the application is granted, the department will not require another renewal unless subsequent changes in use or ownership occur.
If an appraiser observes a change in the exempt property, such as a retail business in operation, the appraiser will contact the tax exemption management analyst in the department's Helena office. The management analyst will mail an application to the entity to reapply for exemption. The reapplication will determine if the entity continues to meet the statutory and rule requirements to remain exempt. The entity would need to submit the supporting documentation and accompanying fee in this situation. If the change occurs prior to December 31, 2021, the applicant will be required to pay the application fee.
COMMENT 15: Mr. Robinson asked what the definition is of a "purely public charity" as stated in the proposed amendment to ARM 42.20.102(11). He said he is unfamiliar with that term, even though he has worked for nonprofits for several years.
RESPONSE 15: In 15-6-201(2), MCA, the term "institutions of purely public charity" includes any organization that meets the following requirements: the organization offers its charitable goods to persons without regard to race, religion, creed, or gender and qualifies as a tax-exempt organization under the provisions of section 501(c)(3), IRC, as amended. The organization accomplishes its activities through absolute gratuity or grants. However, the organization may solicit or raise funds by the sale of merchandise, memberships, or tickets to public performances, entertainment, or other similar types of fundraising. It also states, in part, "agricultural property owned by purely public charity is not exempt, if the agricultural property is used by the charity to produce unrelated business taxable income."
COMMENT 16: Mr. Robinson further stated that 15-6-201, MCA, specifically refers to those 501(c)(3) nonprofits under the Internal Revenue Code and asked what about those entities which are not 501(c)(3) nonprofits, such as the American Legion Posts? He stated that there appears to be 26 or 27 additional subchapters to IRC 501(c). Therefore, should there be additional language in the proposed amendment stating that if you are not a "purely public charity" you will be required to reapply?
RESPONSE 16: Section 15-6-201, MCA, covers many types of organizations who can apply for exemption. These include educational, nonprofit healthcare, water associations, religious, etc. For the most part, these types of organizations will have an IRS Tax Exempt Status of 501(c)(3), but do not come under the definition of "institutions of purely public charity" as defined in 15-6-201(2)(c)(i)(A), MCA. Also, they have their own subsets under 15-6-201, MCA, and because they were identified in House Bill 389, they must reapply for exemption as well. Organizations, such as chambers of commerce, civic leagues, pleasure, recreational, or social clubs, etc., although nonprofit, are not covered by any exemption statute in the Montana Code Annotated and could not apply for exemption.
There may have also been some confusion in the notice due to the inclusion of the purely public charity language in the proposed amendments to ARM 42.20.102(11) where the process is defined when "institutions of purely public charity" apply for an exemption but the property is vacant. In this situation, the charity has up to 8 years to place the property into its charitable purpose. If that fails to happen, the charity could be responsible for up to 8 years in back taxes. The 8-year exemption is allowed only for "institutions of purely public charity" as defined in 15-6-201, MCA, and the department determined it was important to include a reference to the "purely public charity" in ARM 42.20.102 for that reason.
COMMENT 17: Mr. Robinson also asked if there will be a physical reassessment of each exempt property by the department.
RESPONSE 17: The department will conduct a physical inspection of each property applying for exempt status.
COMMENT 18: Mr. Robinson asked for a definition of class 3 and class 4 properties and questioned how the new rules would apply to the Archie Bray Foundation, a 501(c)(3), with land and manufacturing, all of which is done for the charitable purposes of providing a place for the artists to work and learn their trade. He asked what comes of having a clay manufacturing facility that sells the clay to schools throughout the state, as well as to local artists.
RESPONSE 18: Class 3 is agricultural property and class 4 is residential, commercial, or industrial property, as set out in 15-6-133 and 15-6-134, MCA.
When the application for the Archie Bray Foundation is submitted, and after the department has completed a physical inspection of the property, the department's tax exemption management analyst will review the available information and make a determination on the property's tax-exempt status. A definitive answer on whether the property continues to meet current law cannot be given until the application and supporting documentation are reviewed.
COMMENT 19: Mr. Gunderson thanked the department for the hearing and for all of the information provided. He stated that many of the American Legion Posts are both 501(c)(3)s and 501(c)(19)s. He suggested contacting the adjuncts for the American Legion, the VFW, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Vietnam Veterans of Montana to get the information out to all the posts.
RESPONSE 19: The department appreciates Mr. Gunderson's good suggestions on how to further reach out to these organizations and is pleased to know that he found the hearing informative.
COMMENT 20: Mr. Robinson also inquired if there is an appeal process if an entity misses the deadline and if there is any penalty.
RESPONSE 20: Any applicant that has been denied exemption may appeal to the Montana Tax Appeal Board. The department does not apply a separate penalty for missing the reapplication deadline.
COMMENT 21: Sheila Rice, Executive Director of NeighborWorks in Great Falls, commented regarding the proposed amendments to ARM 42.20.102(12). Ms. Rice stated that low-income housing exemptions are available for projects that do not use low-income housing tax credits, so some of the requirements in the proposed rule are not applicable.
Ms. Rice provided edit suggestions for proposed ARM 42.20.102(12), below, and explained that she based them on information she received from the department that if an entity applying for an exemption in 2014 would have advised the department that they had been approved as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS but had not yet received the written approval, the department would have held the application until the documentation was received.
The revisions suggested by Ms. Rice for the proposed amendments to ARM 42.20.102(12) are as follows. In (b), add language permitting a reason to be given for the absence of an IRS exemption letter, or a statement explaining that the IRS exemption letter is pending. In (e), add "or if a project is not a tax credit project." In (g) and (h), add "if applicable" to the end of each.
RESPONSE 21: The department appreciates Ms. Rice's suggested edits to ARM 42.20.102(12), but doesn't find them appropriate for this rule.
In explanation, (12) speaks specifically to organizations that apply for exemption under 15-6-221, MCA, the low-income housing statute. To qualify for exemption under this statute, organizations must meet more stringent requirements than are required for exemption under 15-6-201, MCA.
Some of the additional documentation required to qualify under 15-6-221, MCA, includes, but is not limited to, proof of rent restrictions and eligibility for Board of Housing tax credits. Applicants are also required to hold a public meeting to demonstrate necessity for the low-income housing and must produce documentation showing there are specific restrictions on the use of the property.
NeighborWorks currently qualifies for exemption as an "institution of purely public charity" under 15-6-201, MCA. While the organization owns the tax-exempt land, the mobile homes situated on that land are owned by individuals. Habitat for Humanity is another example of an organization that qualifies under this same statute because participating individuals own the property and will eventually pay property taxes on it.
Department staff is available to answer questions and assist organizations with the application process if needed. If an entity feels they would qualify for exemption under a different governing statute, they can reapply and provide updated documentation to the department for status change consideration.
COMMENT 22: With regard to the proposed amendments to ARM 42.20.301, Mr. Story commented that the statement "whichever is later" is unnecessary and should be stricken as there is only one applicable date. He commented that the statement "[t]o be considered for the current tax year, an application must be filed on a form available from the department within 30 days after receiving a classification and appraisal notice from the department, whichever is later" just gets back to previous language.
RESPONSE 22: Mr. Story is correct. The phrase "whichever is later" should have been stricken as part of the proposed amendments to the rule. The department has amended the rule accordingly and appreciates Mr. Story bringing attention to this error.
COMMENT 23: Also relating to the 30-day deadline language that appears throughout the proposed amendments, Mr. Story commented that he thinks it would be helpful if there was actually a defined name for the date on the form, e.g., a postmark, the date you send it, appraisal date, or a final date of appeal would be a good date to have on the form. A firm date would eliminate confusion regarding the appeal deadline. That way, if mailings to different groups were done on different dates, each mailing could contain a specific deadline date.
RESPONSE 23: The deadline of 30 days after receiving a notice is determined from the date on each notice type issued by the department. By working from the actual date printed on a classification and appraisal notice, application response, determination letter, etc., the date being used is readily verifiable by both parties. The department appreciates Mr. Story's suggestion, but has concluded it is appropriate to leave the language as proposed.
/s/ Laurie Logan /s/ Mike Kadas
Laurie Logan Mike Kadas
Rule Reviewer Director of Revenue
Certified to the Secretary of State December 14, 2015