Best Lawyers Releases 2018 List of Honorees, Includes MM&C Attorneys James Thompson and Joel (Jody)

 

Best Lawyers® released the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers in America on September 29, 2017. The stand-alone publication highlights 2,886 lawyers recognized for their top legal talent, along with 103 “Lawyer of the Year” recipients from the Washington D.C. metro area. Additionally, the publication features notable local news and profiles of firms and individuals across the region.

Best Lawyers in America will be mailed to recognized lawyers in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The publication will also be distributed in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Washington Post in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Miller, Miller & Canby’s Jim Thompson and Jody Kline have been recognized on the Best Lawyers list in their respective areas of practice every year since first being named in 2007. Mr. Thompson has been recognized for Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law and Mr. Kline for Land Use and Zoning Law. In 2013, Mr. Thompson was also named a “Best Lawyer of the Year” for his accomplishments. This prestigious award is a testament to their long-standing reputations for their individual legal abilities and professionalism.  

Jim Thompson
has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain (with partner Joe Suntum) and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, Mr. Thompson represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation. Currently Mr. Suntum is the selected member for the state of Maryland. With Mr. Thompson’s breadth of legal experience, proven results, mature judgment, and tenured leadership within the judicial system and the bar, having served as president of the Maryland State Bar Association, he brings the ideal blend of proven trial experience and legal skill to client representations.

Jody Kline
has led Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Development department since 1981, focusing his practice in land use, zoning and subdivision law and representing clients in many of Montgomery County’s planning and economic development initiatives. In addition to zoning and subdivision law, he represents clients in matters related to master planning, zoning text amendments, conditional use permits, building permit issuance, and other administrative and real estate matters related to land use and development. His clients include residential and commercial developers, private individuals, religious institutions, private schools, non-profit entities and municipal corporations and agencies.

"For more than a third of a century," says Best Lawyers CEO Steven Naifeh, "Best Lawyers has been the gold standard of excellence in the legal profession." President Phil Greer adds, "We are extremely proud of that record and equally proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these exceptional legal professionals."

Best Lawyers® is the oldest and most respected attorney ranking service in the world. For more than 30 years, the organization as assisted those in need of legal services to identify the attorneys best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Best Lawyers lists are published in leading local, regional, and national publications across the globe.

For more information about Jim Thompson and Miller, Miller & Canby’s Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law practice click here or for information about Jody Kline and Miller, Miller & Canby's Land Use and Zoning Law practice click here.

 

Miller, Miller & Canby’s James Thompson Selected to Senior Leadership Montgomery Class of 2018

 

Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce that James (Jim) Thompson as been selected to join the 2018 Senior Leadership Montgomery Class. For nearly 30 years, Leadership Montgomery has worked to educate, inspire, convene and connect current and emerging leaders to serve the Montgomery County community in constructive ways. Through a series of monthly interactive and comprehensive education sessions with the County’s most prominent senior business leaders, participants have a unique opportunity to increase their understanding of the complex social and economic issues facing Montgomery County and to help advance important initiatives.

Leadership Montgomery graduates play an active role, serving on numerous State, County and nonprofit boards and committees. The organization’s vision is to build and sustain a thriving Montgomery County, supported by a network of engaged, dedicated leaders.

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to participate in the Senior Leadership Montgomery Class of 2018,” said Thompson. “I look forward to working with the Leadership Montgomery team and with other members of our community to identify opportunities to better serve the businesses, organizations and residents of Montgomery County.”

Thompson has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, he represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owner’s Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation. Additionally, he focuses in civil litigation, including complex real estate and business/commercial disputes. For his accomplishments, he has been named a Super Lawyer in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia for the past 11 consecutive years, an AV-Rated Preeminent Lawyer for 30 years, a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a 2013 Lawyer of the Year Selection by Best Lawyers in the Eminent Domain/Condemnation area of practice. He has also received a number of prestigious leadership awards, including the Daily Record’s Leadership in Law Award and the Century of Service Award, recognizing the top judges and lawyers in the last 100 years in Montgomery County. In addition, he has served the legal community and the public as the President of both the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association.

Learn more about MM&C's Litigation practice. To view the firm's formal press release, please click the download button below. 

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  • Four MM&C Attorneys Named 2017 DC Super Lawyers

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce our attorneys who have been named to the list of Super Lawyers in the D.C. Metropolitan area for 2017. Attorneys James Thompson, Jody Kline and Donna McBride have been selected for this honor, and attorney Diane Feuerherd has been named to the 2017 Rising Stars list, which recognizes attorneys under the age of 40.

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in the nation’s capital through a patented multiphased selection process which involves independent research, as well as peer nomination and review/evaluation. The objective is to create a comprehensive listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and a variety of firm sizes. The lists are published annually in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers nationwide.

    2017 marks the 11th year that James (Jim) Thompson has been named to the list. Jim has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain (with partner Joe Suntum) and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, he represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owner’s Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation.

    Jody Kline
    has been a named Super Lawyer for each of the past 10 years, and has led Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Development and Zoning practice group since 1981. He focuses his practice in land use, zoning and subdivision law, and representing clients in many of Montgomery County’s planning and economic development initiatives. Additionally, he represents clients in matters relating to master planning, zoning text amendments, conditional use permits, building permit issuance, and other matters related to land use and development. His clients include residential and commercial developers, institutions, municipal corporations and entities, private schools, non-profit entities and private individuals.

    Donna McBride
    has been a named Super Lawyer since 2014, and has been a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation practice since 2009. She focuses her practice in litigation in the following areas:  business and commercial, employment, estates and trusts, personal injury and insurance, as well as real estate. In addition to her extensive background as a trial lawyer, she is co-chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Judicial Selections Committee, served on the Character Committee for the Court of Appeals, serves on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association and on the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

    2017 is the second year that attorney Diane Feuerherd has been named to the Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list. She is an associate in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation practice, focusing in appellate, employment, commercial and business litigation. She has successfully argued cases before the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals and represented a commercial developer challenging the validity of the Montgomery County “Rain Tax.” She contributes her time to the Finding Justice project, a committee of the Women’s Bar Association, researching and memorializing the history of women lawyers in Maryland.  

    Click the download button below to view the firm's formal press release. View the entire 2017 DC Super Lawyers by clicking here.

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  • Maryland Real Property Tax Exemptions

     

    Maryland’s tax laws contain a variety of tax exemptions for different types of real property uses.  It’s important to note that just because a property owner is a church, charity or non-profit organization, such status does not automatically qualify the real estate for a property tax exemption.  Additionally, a tax exemption is not the same as a tax credit, which is available to certain property owners under a different section of the Maryland Code.  

    View the article by MM&C Litigation Attorney, Michael Campbell, which discusses some of the more common tax exemptions available and the process for obtaining an exemption by clicking the download attachment link below.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has been handling assessment appeals of various types of commercial properties in Maryland for more than 30 years.  In 2016, we obtained over $20,000,000 in property assessment reductions for our clients.  Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients at the assessor level, before the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB) and in the Maryland Tax Court.  We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, hotels, casinos, retail stores, industrial sites, warehouses, apartment buildings and land at various stages of development.  

    Michael Campbell is a partner in the litigation group at Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to trial and appellate advocacy, his practice focuses on real estate litigation and property tax assessment appeals.  Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for property tax guidance.  For more information about the firm’s Maryland property tax appeals practice and representative cases, click here.
     

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  • Property Owners Have 45 Days to Appeal New Maryland Property Tax Assessments

     

    Last week, the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) issued new Assessment Notices to owners of one-third of all commercial and residential properties in Maryland.  Property owners have 45 days from the date of the Assessment Notice to challenge these new assessments.  The “first-level” appeal allows the owner the opportunity to convince the assessor that the assessment is incorrect.  If the assessor refuses to reduce the assessment, the owner may file a further appeal within 30 days to the county Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB).   The Board will consider the evidence and issue a written decision, usually within two weeks.  If the property owner is still dissatisfied, another appeal may be filed to the Maryland Tax Court.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has been protesting the assessments of various types of commercial properties and high-value residential properties in Maryland for more than 30 years and has obtained substantial reductions in real property assessments for our clients.  Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients before the local Assessment Office, PTAAB and the Maryland Tax Court.  We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, retail stores, senior living centers, warehouses, casinos, apartment buildings, cemeteries and property being developed.  Let us help you reduce your Maryland property assessments in 2017.  

    Michael Campbell
    is a partner in the litigation group at Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to trial and appellate advocacy, his practice focuses on real estate litigation and property tax assessment appeals.  Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for property tax guidance or to help reduce your commercial Maryland property tax assessment.  For more information about the firm’s Maryland property tax appeals practice and representative cases, click here.
     

    Jim Thompson’s Successful MD Tax Appeal Case Chosen as one of the “Top 10 Ad Valorem Tax Cases"

     

    The 46th Annual Wichita Program Appraisal for Ad Valorem Taxation of Communications, Energy and Transportation Properties was held on July 24-28, 2016 at Wichita State University.  MM&C litigation attorneys, James (“Jim”) Thompson and Michael Campbell, represented Charles County, and David Lyon represented the State Department of Assessments and Taxation against the taxpayer’s efforts to obtain a dramatic reduction in the value of an electric generating plant in Charles County.  After a lengthy trial, they were successful in the reported case of GenOn Mid-Atlantic, LLC v. State Dept. of Assessments and Taxation, 2015 WL 9875283 (Md. Tax 2015).  This case was selected as one of the top ten significant ad valorem cases in 2015-2016 because of the complexity of the issues and the large dollar amount involved.  The case involved personal property assessments on property owned by a non-regulated coal plant in excess of One Billion Dollars.  Witnesses for the taxpayer stated that the fair market value of the plant would have been severely reduced by a number of factors, among them the contention that coal plants were becoming obsolete as new environmental regulations added increased costs to their operation and the availability of cheap natural gas made them non-competitive.  The Tax Court considered those issues, but also evaluated the long-term economics of the plant and ruled that the “highest and best use” of the property was a continuation of the existing plant, and there was nothing obsolete about the coal technology as of the valuation dates in 2009-2010.  The Court affirmed the assessments.

    For a detailed summary of the case, click here.  For more information regarding the Annual Wichita Program Appraisal for Ad Valorem Taxation, click here.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has been handling tax assessment appeals for owners of various types of properties in Maryland for more than 30 years, and occasionally represents governmental entities trying to protect their tax base.  In 2014, MM&C’s attorneys obtained millions of dollars in property assessment reductions for its clients.  Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients at the assessor level, before the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB), and in the Maryland Tax Court.  We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, hotels, casinos, retail stores, industrial sites, warehouses, apartment buildings and land at various stages of development.  Jim Thompson and Michael Campbell have headed up the firm’s ad valorem tax assessment practice for years.

    Also, Jim Thompson and Joe Suntum have an extensive practice in eminent domain and real estate valuation litigation.  Currently, Joe is the Maryland Member in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation.  With their breadth of legal experience, proven results and mature judgment, they have been extremely successful.

    Please feel free to contact Mr. Thompson, Mr. Campbell or Mr. Suntum, at (301) 762-5212 for any property value litigation issues.  For more information about the firm’s litigation practice and representative cases, click here.

    Michael Campbell, Litigation Attorney, Published in the August 2016 IPT Insider

     

    The Institute for Professionals in Taxation published Michael Campbell's article that analyzes a recent decision by Maryland’s highest appellate court concerning the interpretation of the “date of finality” rule, which was thought by many practitioners to exclude comparable sales after January 1 of the tax cycle. The Court of Appeals interpreted the statute expansively to allow sales after the date of finality in certain circumstances, joining such states as New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Oregon. Mr. Campbell's article is published in the August 2016 issue of The IPT Insider.  Click here to view the issue or click the download attachment link below.

    Michael Campbell
    leads the Litigation practice of Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to appellate advocacy, he concentrates his practice in the following areas of litigation:  Business & Commercial, Real Estate, Residential & Commercial Construction, and Maryland Property Tax Appeals. He has particular expertise in property tax litigation and appeals. Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for commercial property tax guidance in Maryland. For more information about the firm's Maryland Property Tax Appeals practice click here.

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  • Maryland’s Highest Court Affirms “Date of Finality” Rule for Property Tax Assessments

     

    In a recent decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals concerning the interpretation of the “date of finality” rule, which was thought by many practitioners to limit the consideration of comparable sales to a time frame before January 1.  The Court interpreted the statute more expansively to allow sales after the date of finality in certain circumstances, joining such states as New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Oregon.

    View the article by MM&C Litigation Attorney, Michael Campbell, which reviews the recent ruling and its effect on property tax appeals in Maryland by clicking the download attachment link below.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has been handling assessment appeals of various types of commercial properties in Maryland for more than 30 years.  In 2014, we obtained over $20,000,000 in property assessment reductions for our clients.  Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients at the assessor level, before the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB) and in the Maryland Tax Court.  We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, hotels, casinos, retail stores, industrial sites, warehouses, apartment buildings and land at various stages of development.  

    Michael Campbell
    leads the litigation practice group of Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to trial and appellate advocacy, his practice focuses on real estate litigation and property tax assessment appeals.  Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for property tax guidance.  For more information about the firm’s Maryland property tax appeals practice and representative cases, click here.
     

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  • Maryland Issues New Property Tax Assessments: Commercial Property Owners Have 45 Days to Appeal

     

    Last week, the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) issued new Assessment Notices to owners of one-third of all commercial properties in Maryland.  Property owners have 45 days from the date of the Assessment Notice to challenge these new assessments.  The “first-level” appeal allows the owner the opportunity to convince the assessor that the assessment is incorrect.  If the assessor refuses to reduce the assessment, the owner may file a further appeal within 30 days to the county Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB).   The Board will consider the evidence and issue a written decision, usually within two weeks.  If the property owner is still dissatisfied, another appeal may be filed to the Maryland Tax Court.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has been protesting the assessments of various types of commercial properties in Maryland for more than 30 years.  In 2015, we obtained over $30,000,000 in property assessment reductions for our clients.  Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients before the local Assessment Office, PTAAB and the Maryland Tax Court.  We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, retail stores, senior living centers, warehouses, casinos, apartment buildings, cemeteries and property being developed.  

    Michael Campbell
    is a partner in the litigation group at Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to trial and appellate advocacy, his practice focuses on real estate litigation and property tax assessment appeals.  Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for property tax guidance.  For more information about the firm’s Maryland property tax appeals practice and representative cases, click here.

    MM&C Litigation Attorney Michael Campbell Published in the August 2015 IPT Insider

     

    The Institute for Professionals in Taxation published Michael Campbell's article that analyzes a recent decision by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals concerning the interpretation of the "date of finality" rule, which was thought by many practitioners to limit the consideration of comparable sales to a time frame before January 1. The Court interpreted the statute more expansively to allow sales after the date of finality in certain circumstances. Mr. Campbell's article is published in the August 2015 issue of The IPT Insider.  Click here to view the issue

    Michael Campbell
    leads the Litigation practice of Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to appellate advocacy, he concentrates his practice in the following areas of litigation:  Business & Commercial, Real Estate, Residential & Commercial Construction, and Maryland Property Tax Appeals. He has particular expertise in property tax litigation and appeals. For more information about the firm's Maryland Property Tax Appeals practice click here or contact Mike Campbell.

    Maryland Appeal Court Expands "Date of Finality" Rule for Property Tax Assessments

     

    A recent decision by Maryland’s intermediate appellate court changes the way most practitioners understood the application of the “date of finality” rule.  Prior to the decision, it was generally understood that when real property is valued every three years as of January 1 – the date of finality – only sales of comparable properties prior to January 1 could be considered.  In a recent case, the Court of Special Appeals held that sales after the date of finality can also be considered in certain circumstances. 

    View the article by MM&C Litigation Attorney, Michael Campbell, which reviews the recent ruling and its effect on property tax appeals in Maryland by clicking the download attachment link below.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has been handling assessment appeals of various types of commercial properties in Maryland for more than 30 years.  In 2014, we obtained over $20,000,000 in property assessment reductions for our clients.  Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients at the assessor level, before the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB) and in the Maryland Tax Court.  We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, retail stores, industrial sites, warehouses, apartment buildings and land at various stages of development.  

    Michael Campbell
    leads the litigation practice group of Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to trial and appellate advocacy, his practice focuses on real estate litigation and property tax assessment appeals.  Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for property tax guidance.  For more information about the firm’s property tax appeals practice and representative cases, click here.

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  • Maryland Increases 2015 Commercial Property Tax Assessments

     

    Last week, the Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) issued new Assessment Notices to owners of one-third of all commercial properties in Maryland.  As expected, the improving economy caused property values to increase in almost every county.  Compared with the assessments of the same properties from three years ago, there was an 18.6% increase in valuations statewide.  In some counties, however, the rise was more dramatic than others.  In Montgomery County, for instance, commercial property assessments soared up 34% from 2012.  In Frederick County, the increase was just over 12%. Here is a recap of Maryland commercial property assessment increases for several jurisdictions:

            Montgomery County           34.4%
            Baltimore City                      14.4%
            Anne Arundel County          13.8%
            Prince George’s County       13.8%
            Howard County                    13.4%
            Frederick County                  12.3%
            Washington County             11.8%
            Baltimore County                 10.3%

    Property owners have 45 days from the date of the Assessment Notice to file an appeal of these new assessments.  The “first-level” appeal allows the owner the opportunity to convince the assessor that the assessment is incorrect.  If the assessor refuses to reduce the assessment, the owner may file a further appeal within 30 days to the local Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB).  The hearing before PTAAB is similar to a trial with each side given the chance to present his or her case with documentary evidence and witness testimony.  The Board consists of three local residents of the jurisdiction in which the property is located.  Board members typically ask questions throughout the hearing and probe the owner and the assessor about their opinion of fair market value and the supporting reasons.  The Board then issues a written decision, usually within about two weeks, although it has up to 30 days by statute.  If the property owner is still dissatisfied, another appeal may be filed to the Maryland Tax Court in Baltimore.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has been handling assessment appeals of various types of commercial properties in Maryland for more than 30 years.  In 2014, we obtained over $20,000,000 in property assessment reductions for our clients.  Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients at the assessor level, before the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB) and in the Maryland Tax Court.  We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, retail stores, industrial sites, warehouses, apartment buildings and land at various stages of development.  

    Michael Campbell
    is a partner in the litigation practice of Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to trial and appellate advocacy, his practice focuses on real estate litigation and property tax assessment appeals.  Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell at 301.762.5212 or send him an email for property tax guidance.  For more information about the firm’s property tax appeals practice and representative cases, click here.
     

    MM&C Litigators Successfully Challenge Montgomery County’s "Rain Tax"

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby litigation attorneys James L. Thompson and Diane E. Feuerherd successfully challenged Montgomery County’s calculation of the Water Quality Protection Charge, also known as the “rain tax”, on behalf of a commercial property owner with multiple properties in the area.  

    The rain tax, which is administered by the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”), is a new line item included on the property tax bills of a majority of commercial property owners.  In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly enacted legislation directing the County to collect the rain tax in an amount that is based on the County’s share of stormwater management services provided to the property, but also to credit the property owner for the investment in private stormwater management facilities on the property.  

    In the case of Miller, Miller & Canby’s client, the County assessed the rain tax, without regard to this property owner’s long track record of private stormwater management and compliance. Even though the property’s two regional ponds entitled the owner to a minimum credit of 50%, the County assessed a penalty, cutting the property owner’s credit in half, because the owner failed to submit cost prohibitive engineering calculations with its credit application – a DEP requirement not authorized by the County statutory or regulatory provisions. The Board of Appeals for Montgomery County, ruling in favor of Miller, Miller & Canby’s client and ordering that the DEP remove the 50% credit reduction, found “that the County lacked the authority to reduce the Appellant’s credit by half for failure to submit these calculations.”   

    Notwithstanding this initial success, Miller, Miller & Canby expects to continue its client’s appeal of the inequity of the rain tax and the County’s failure to comply with the state law to obtain the full credit against the rain tax for its client.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has more than 60 years of tax litigation and trial experience.  Our goal is to provide value to clients, which we define as the maximum savings of tax dollars at the earliest possible stage in the appeal process. We are skilled and tenacious advocates, with a proven track record of success for our clients.  Click here to learn more about our litigation practice.

    Our goal is to provide value to clients, which we define as the maximum savings of tax dollars at the earliest possible stage in the appeal process. Due to our many successes with property tax assessment appeals, including in the Maryland Tax Court, the firm has earned the respect of the assessors for its expertise and litigation skills. - See more at: http://www.millermillercanby.com/practice-area-detail.cfm?areaname=Tax%20Litigation#sthash.RGLOx46U.dpuf


     

    New Maryland Property Tax Assessments Deadline to Appeal is Early February 2015

     

    Every three years, one-third of the residential and commercial properties in Maryland are reassessed for property tax purposes.  The assessments are staggered and rotate geographically within each county.  For example, in Montgomery County, commercial properties located in Rockville and Gaithersburg will receive new notices of assessment for 2015.  In Frederick County, commercial properties in Thurmont, Emmitsburg and parts of the City of Frederick will receive new assessment notices.  In Prince George’s County, notices will be sent to commercial properties in Temple Hills, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Clinton, Suitland, Lanham, Landover and Bladensburg.

    On or about December 26, a new assessment notice will be mailed by the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT) to the property owner’s designated mailing address.  If the owner is dissatisfied with the assessment the owner has 45 days from the date of the notice to file an appeal.  For notices being mailed this year, the appeal deadline should fall on Monday, February 9, 2015.

    Owners should file an appeal if they believe the assessment exceeds the fair market value.  For income producing properties this could be based on a reduced cash flow to the property, higher tenant vacancies, increased operating expenses or increased risk in the marketplace resulting in higher capitalization rates.  Also, there may be miscalculations by the assessor, poor evaluations of comparable sales, a flawed cost approach to value, regulatory restrictions (such as downzoning the property), a refusal by the county to re-zone the property or the failure to consider vacant or demolished property as part of a redevelopment plan.  

    Miller, Miller & Canby has more than 30 years of experience in pursuing property tax appeals in Maryland.  In 2014, we obtained over $20,000,000 in property assessment reductions for our clients.  Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients at the assessor level, before the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB) and in the Maryland Tax Court.  We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, retail stores, industrial sites, warehouses, apartment buildings and land at various stages of development.   Click here to learn more about our property tax appeal practice and representative tax assessment appeals.

    If you have any questions concerning your property assessment or would like to file a property tax appeal, please contact Michael Campbell or James Thompson, attorneys in the firm’s litigation practice group.

    SDAT’s Report Reveals Interesting Trends for Maryland Real Estate Market & Property Tax Assessments

     

    On April 11, 2014, the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) issued its annual assessment ratio report to Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly.  The report, which is required by law, measures the quality of real property assessments in each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions.  This year’s report contains statistics from which interesting trends in Maryland’s real estate markets can be gleaned. 

    The report indicates that 678,763 properties were valued by SDAT using “mass appraisal” techniques for taxation in 2013, 2014 and 2015.  SDAT reported that residential property values decreased by 7% on average since 2010, while commercial property values increased by an average of 11% statewide for the regions reassessed.

    There were 357 commercial properties sold statewide between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013, with the largest number of sales in Baltimore City (54), Baltimore County (53) and Montgomery County (35).  Some counties saw very few commercial sales.  For instance, there were 4 or fewer commercial sales in Allegany, Caroline, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, and Somerset Counties during the same period.  Such small numbers make it difficult to observe any trends in these counties.

    Interesting trends can be seen in the jurisdictions with the largest numbers of commercial sales.  In 23 out of 24 jurisdictions, the total sales prices exceeded the total assessed values (the lone exception was Worcester County).  This is not uncommon since property values generally rise during the three years following the initial reassessment.  For example, in Montgomery County the 35 properties sold for the total sum of $500,000,000, while the properties were collectively assessed at $445,000,000.  This equates to an assessment ratio of 89%, which SDAT tracks for every county to determine the quality of assessments by each local assessment office.   In some counties, the assessments were quite accurate compared to sales – as in the case of Baltimore City with a 95% assessment ratio -- while others were well off the mark.  For instance, the commercial ratio in Howard County was only 67%.

    While the statistics released by SDAT provide some useful insight for those considering whether or not to appeal an assessment, one must also be willing to ignore statistics when making the important decision to appeal an assessment.  Ultimately, every commercial property stands alone with unique characteristics that distinguish it from comparable properties that might be relied upon by the assessor under a sales approach to value.  For instance, an older property may require major capital improvements (e.g., new roof, resurface asphalt lot, tenant improvements) of which the assessor is unaware.  In this situation, the owner may highlight the cost of the improvements to support a challenge to the assessment.

    For income-producing properties, the assessor usually utilizes the income approach as the primary approach to value. But for properties worth $5 million or less, the assessor typically does not have actual income and expense data for the property because the owner is not required to produce the data.  Instead, the assessor estimates rental income based on local rental rates and applies a fixed percentage for expenses (e.g., 30%).  In this situation, the property owner should obtain a copy of the assessor’s worksheet and compare the estimates to the actual income and expense data for the property.  If there are major differences, an appeal may be warranted to reduce the assessment.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has been protesting the assessments of various types of real property in Maryland for more than 30 years. Michael Campbell is a partner in the litigation practice of Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to trial and appellate advocacy, his practice focuses on real estate litigation and property tax assessment appeals. Please feel free to contact Mr. Campbell for real estate and property tax guidance. For more information about the firm’s property tax appeals practice and representative assessment appeals, click here.

    Maryland Property Tax Appeal Deadline Approaching

     

    Every three years, one-third of the residential and commercial properties in Maryland are reassessed for property tax purposes.  The assessments are staggered and rotate geographically within each county.  For example, in Montgomery County, commercial properties located in Barnesville, Bethesda, Clarksburg, Damascus, Olney, Potomac and Poolesville will receive new notices of assessment in 2014.  In Frederick County, commercial properties in the City of Frederick will receive new notices.  In Prince George’s County, notices will be sent to commercial properties in Beltsville, Bowie, Clinton, Glenn Dale, Laurel, Lanham, Temple Hills and Upper Marlboro.  In Howard County, commercial properties in Columbia, Clarksville, Elkridge, Jessup and Laurel are up for reassessment in 2014.

    At the end of December, a new assessment notice is mailed by the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT) to the property owner’s designated address.  If the owner is dissatisfied with the assessment the owner has 45 days from the date of the notice to file an appeal.  This generally means appeals must be filed by the second week of February.

    Owners often file an appeal when they believe the assessment exceeds the fair market value of their property.  For income producing properties an appeal could be based on a reduced cash flow to the property, higher tenant vacancies, increased operating expenses or increased risk in the marketplace resulting in higher capitalization rates.  Or there may be miscalculations by the assessor, poor evaluations of comparable sales, a flawed cost approach to value,  regulatory restrictions (such as downzoning the property), a refusal by the County to re-zone the property or the failure to consider vacant or demolished property as part of a redevelopment plan.  

    Miller, Miller & Canby has more than 30 years of experience in pursuing property tax appeals.  Our attorneys have represented clients at the assessor level, before the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB) and in the Maryland Tax Court.  We have successfully appealed the assessments on industrial sites, warehouses, department stores, office buildings, retail stores, apartment buildings and land at various stages of development.  Click here to learn more about our property tax appeal practice and representative tax assessment appeals.

    If you have any questions concerning your property assessment or would like to file a property tax appeal, please contact Michael Campbell or James Thompson, attorneys in the firm’s litigation practice group.

     

    Michael Campbell Featured in May 2013 Issue of IPT's The Tax Report

     

    The Institute for Professionals in Taxation published Michael Campbell's article about a recent Maryland Court of Appeals Decision that drew new attention to property tax exemptions in the State of Maryland. In Green v. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Court was asked to consider the tax exempt status of an apartment complex owned and used by the Church to house temporary workers who perform religious ceremonies. The Church ultimately had to litigate its case through five levels of adjudication before Maryland's highest court issued its decision in the Church's favor. Mr. Campbell's article is published in the May 2013 issue of The Tax Report.  Click here to view the issue.  A complete copy of the article may also be found by clicking on Download Attachment at the end of this entry.

    Michael Campbell is a partner in the Litigation practice of Miller, Miller & Canby. In addition to appellate advocacy, he concentrates his practice in the following areas of litigation:  Business & Commercial, Real Estate, Residential & Commercial Construction, and Property Tax Appeals. He has particular expertise in property tax litigation and appeals. For more information about these areas, contact Michael Campbell

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  • Filing Deadlines Approaching for Property Tax Appeals and Homestead Tax Credit Eligibility

     

    December 31, 2012 represents the due date for filing an optional petition for review of commercial and residential property assessments.  It is also the deadline for homeowners to file the mandatory application for homestead tax credit eligibility. According to Miller, Miller & Canby's Michael Campbell there are several good reasons for appealing assessments for properties; filing a petition for review can result in significant savings for the property owner. Regarding the Homestead Tax Credit, the majority of Marylanders have not filed the appropriate application, which must be filed for homeowners to qualify for the tax credit that limits the amount of assessment on which a homeowner actually pays taxes.  To learn more about these matters, view Michael Campbell's article by clicking on Download Attachment at the end of this entry.   

    Michael Campbell is a partner in the Litigation practice of Miller, Miller & Canby. He focuses his practice on commercial disputes, and handles cases relating to real property tax appeals, real estate contests, lease enforcement, contract disputes, and other business and personal disputes.  For more information regarding matters relating to property taxes in Maryland, contact  Michael Campbell

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  • Take Advantage of the "60-Day Rule" for Reducing Property Taxes

     

    “What you don’t know won’t hurt you,” goes the old proverb.  But in tough economic times the better practice is to arm yourself with information that saves money.  This applies to the “appeal upon purchase” right granted to new property owners.   Many purchasers of residential and commercial property in Maryland don’t know they have a special right to appeal their property assessment during the first 6 months of the year.

    Purchasers of properties that are transferred after January 1 and before July 1 have a special right to appeal the assessment within sixty (60) days of the date of transfer.   For transfers completed after June 30, the purchaser must wait until year-end for any appeal to be processed.  The statutory framework also allows for appeals to be filed after July 1st if the date of the delivery of the deed was prior to July 1st.  The new owner must closely follow the 60-day calendar to benefit from the appeal right.

    Learn more about the buyer's right to appeal under the "60-Day Rule" by clicking download attachment below to read Michael Campbell's explanation of the rule.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has represented commercial and residential property owners for over 65 years with real estate transactions, financing, settlements, litigation and property tax appeals. Contact Mike Campbell to take advantage of the "60-Day Rule" and potentially reduce your commercial real estate property tax.

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