231 P.3d 389 (Ariz.Tax 2010), TX 2008-000808, Maracay Thunderbird, L.L.C. v. Maricopa County

Docket Nº:TX 2008-000808.
Citation:231 P.3d 389, 224 Ariz. 385
Opinion Judge:DEAN M. FINK, Judge.
Party Name:MARACAY THUNDERBIRD, L.L.C. v. MARICOPA COUNTY.
Attorney:Mooney, Wright & Moore, PLLC by Paul J. Mooney, Jim L. Wright, Paul Moore and Bart S. Wilhoit, Mesa, for plaintiff. Maricopa County Atty. by John W. Paulsen and Christopher C. Keller, Phoenix, for defendant.
Case Date:April 22, 2010
Court:Tax Court of Arizona
 
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Page 389

231 P.3d 389 (Ariz.Tax 2010)

224 Ariz. 385

MARACAY THUNDERBIRD, L.L.C.

v.

MARICOPA COUNTY.

No. TX 2008-000808.

Tax Court of Arizona.

April 22, 2010

Mooney, Wright & Moore, PLLC by Paul J. Mooney, Jim L. Wright, Paul Moore and Bart S. Wilhoit, Mesa, for plaintiff.

Maricopa County Atty. by John W. Paulsen and Christopher C. Keller, Phoenix, for defendant.

OPINION

DEAN M. FINK, Judge.

Following oral argument, the Court took defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction under advisement. Upon further consideration of the

Page 390

briefing and argument, the Court rules as follows.

Facts

The facts of this case are not disputed and may be briefly stated. The plaintiff, Maracay Thunderbird, L.L.C. (" Maracay Thunderbird" ), owned several parcels of real property in Maricopa County. While it owned these parcels, it objected to the assessor's valuation of them for tax year 2009 and, having paid the taxes in dispute, filed the present appeal to the Arizona Tax Court on December 15, 2008.1 Eight days later, on December 23, 2008, Maracay Thunderbird sold the parcels to Klondike Land Portfolio, L.L.C. (" Klondike" ), which is not a party to this action.

There is also no dispute that the Court's jurisdiction over this matter is governed by A.R.S. § 42-16201(A), which reads in part, " A property owner who is dissatisfied with the valuation or classification of the property as determined by the county assessor may appeal directly to the court...."

Issue

While conceding that Maracay Thunderbird satisfied the jurisdictional requirement of being the property owner at the time it filed its appeal, the County contends-via the motion to dismiss-that property ownership is a continuing jurisdictional requisite and that, once Maracay Thunderbird ceased to be the property owner, the Court lost jurisdiction over the case. Maracay Thunderbird asserts that the jurisdiction, which was proper at the time of filing, is not lost due to the subsequent sale of the property to another owner.

Analysis

In this case, as in the typical property tax appeal, two forms of relief are sought.2 The first is retrospective: the refund of excessive taxes already collected. A.R.S. § 42-16210 requires that disputed taxes be paid when due; if the taxes are not paid, the taxing authority is entitled to seize the collateral-the property-and the owner forfeits his or her ownership interest. Circle K Stores, Inc. v. Apache County, 199 Ariz. 402, 407, 18 P.3d 713, 718 (App.2001); contrast Maricopa County v. Superior Court, 170 Ariz. 248, 253-54, 823 P.2d 696, 701-02 (App.1991) (court has no jurisdiction when taxes paid by non-owner...

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