866 P.2d 163 (Ariz.Tax 1993), TX 93-00109, Ringier America v. Maricopa County

Docket Nº:TX 93-00109.
Citation:866 P.2d 163, 177 Ariz. 181
Party Name:RINGIER AMERICA v. MARICOPA COUNTY, et al.
Case Date:December 09, 1993
Court:Tax Court of Arizona
 
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Page 163

866 P.2d 163 (Ariz.Tax 1993)

177 Ariz. 181

RINGIER AMERICA

v.

MARICOPA COUNTY, et al.

No. TX 93-00109.

Tax Court of Arizona.

December 9, 1993

Page 164

[177 Ariz. 182] Munger and Munger, P.L.C. by John F. Munger, Tucson, for plaintiff.

Ian Macpherson, County Atty., Phoenix, for defendant.

OPINION

SCHAFER, Judge.

The parties raise two issues in this case. One is whether the Assessor may audit prior years' personal property tax returns and retroactively impose taxes found unpaid. The other is whether taxes are "delinquent" when a corrected tax bill is mailed out after settlement with a stated delinquency date prior to the date of mailing. But the Court will not decide either issue because of the untimeliness of the appeal.

In the fall of 1990, the Maricopa County Assessor's office audited Ringier America's unsecured personal property statements for tax years 1987 through 1990. The audit found Ringier, in preparing and filing its property tax statements for those years, improperly classified certain equipment. The improper classifications resulted in more favorable depreciation schedules which in turn resulted in lower taxes.

In December of 1990 the Assessor reclassified the equipment and issued a tax bill for an additional $51,970.29 for the years 1987 through 1990. The December bill had a due date of January 14, 1991, and a delinquency date of February 13, 1991.

Ringier filed a petition for review with the Assessor on December 13, 1990. On December 24, 1990, the Assessor denied relief. Ringier appealed to the State Board of Equalization. Again, relief was denied. Ringier then appealed to the State Board of Tax Appeals. In January of 1991, before the State Board of Tax Appeals heard the matter, a settlement was reached--the $51,970.29 due was reduced to $43,430.07.

At the time of settlement, the Assessor informed Ringier a revised tax bill would be issued reflecting the corrected tax amount. On April 3, 1991, a revised tax bill was issued showing $43,430.07 as the amount due. However, the revised tax bill had a stated delinquency date of February 13, 1991, a date approximately 5 weeks before the bill was issued. The delinquency date was the same date as the delinquency date of the original tax bill. On April 23, 1991, Ringier paid the taxes.

On April 9, 1993, Ringier filed a document with the Tax Court entitled "Petition for Special Action and Complaint and Appeal from Denial of Tax Refund." This Court dismissed that portion of the document entitled "Petition for Special Action" stating a special action is not appropriate where an appeal lies. On May 20, 1993, Ringier filed a motion for reconsideration arguing an "appeal" under A.R.S. § 11-506 is required to be by way of special action and Ringier's complaint was made under section 11-506. This Court denied the motion noting...

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