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Natural Resource Land Holding Co. Wins Property Tax Appeal
Spilman achieved victory for our client, a natural resource land holding company, in an appeal decided by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. The company owns more than 61,000 acres of timberland in West Virginia. Under West Virginia law, landowners qualify for the assessment of lower property taxes on their land if they agree to manage their timberland pursuant to a contract with the West Virginia Division of Forestry, which earns that land the designation of Managed Timberland. During a specific year, our client submitted the necessary paperwork to the Division of Forestry to renew its Managed Timberland designation, but did so slightly late. This led the Division of Forestry to deny Managed Timberland status to the land in question, which cost our client more than $500,000 in increased property taxes. This appeal before the Supreme Court dealt with the fact that, when the Division of Forestry denied Managed Timberland status to the land in question for that year, the Division of Forestry failed to inform our client that the appropriate right to appeal that denial lay directly to the Director of the Division of Forestry. Instead, the Division of Forestry notified our client to appeal the decision to the various taxing authorities, which had no statutory authority to resolve the problem. The Supreme Court held that the Division of Forestry violated our client's right to due process of law when it failed to inform the company of its appropriate right to appeal directly to the Director of the Division of Forestry. The Supreme Court ordered that our client be given a direct appeal to the Director.


Appellate Litigation Natural Resources State & Local Taxation William M. Herlihy
304.340.3838 Alexander Macia
304.340.3835 Don C. A. Parker