Talisker settles Montage tax issue with county
November 22, 2013
Talisker’s Montage Hotel will be receiving almost $1.7 million back in tax refunds from the Park City School District and other entities after reaching a tax settlement with Summit County.
The refunds were prompted by a discrepancy in the assessed value of the Montage Hotel, which was built in 2007 during the height of the housing boom. During that time, the county used a cost approach to value the hotel as opposed to an income approach. The value was set at $217,533,080.
Talisker had appealed the Summit County Board of Equalization’s hearing officer, saying the 2007 value was "obsolete" in determining the Montage’s value because of the 2008 financial crisis, according to county documents. It claimed the hotel had a value of $116,700,000 using the income approach to valuation.
Summit County Assessor Steve Martin said at that time the county did not have a commercial appraiser and had to use the cost approach, assuming that no entity would build something that it could buy at a lesser price.
"We didn’t have anybody with the expertise to analyze [the Montage’s] income stream," Martin said. "There was nothing else comparable in the state to see its value, so we went to the default, which is cost."
After the Board of Equalization rejected Talisker’s appeal, it appealed to the Utah State Tax Commission, which reduced the Montage’s value to $128,700,000, finding "external obsolescence." Talisker also appealed its taxable values for 2012 and 2013, paying "under protest" their property taxes for 2011 and 2012.
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Using appraisals from the Pinnacle Advisory Group, the Tax Commission appraised the Montage Hotel’s 2011-13 values at the following: $128,700,000 for 2011, $140,000,000 for 2012 and $137,000,000 for 2013.
Summit County Attorney David Thomas said at Wednesday’s County Council meeting that, starting in 2014, most of the appraisals had a three percent increase in value built into them. That three percent increase will continue for 2014 and 2015, he said.
Martin said that since Talisker had already paid the increased taxes for 2011 and 2012, the resolutions passed by the county on Wednesday as part of a settlement agreement included certain taxing entities to refund those values to Talisker. They would need to select a refunding option by January 10, 2014, which could be a lump sum payment or installments.
The combined 2011 and 2012 tax refunds from each entity include:
Martin said the county has recommended granting the Assessor’s Office a commercial appraiser, which would help his office in future situations similar to this, though he added such instances are rare.
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