Posts tagged "Verizon"

Verizon New England Inc. v. Board of Assessors of Boston (and a consolidated case) (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-173-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC-12034   VERIZON NEW ENGLAND INC.  vs.  BOARD OF ASSESSORS OF BOSTON (and a consolidated case[1]).       Suffolk.     April 7, 2016. – November 2, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, & Hines, JJ.[2]     Telephone Company.  Taxation, Assessors, Personal property tax: value.  Constitutional Law, Taxation.       Appeal from a decision of the Appellate Tax Board.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     William Hazel for the taxpayers. Anthony M. Ambriano for board of assessors of Boston. Maura Healey, Attorney General, & Daniel J. Hammond, Assistant Attorney General, for Attorney General & another, amici curiae, submitted a brief. Kenneth W. Gurge, for Massachusetts Municipal Association & others, amici curiae, submitted a brief.     BOTSFORD, J.  Two telephone companies appeal from a decision of the Appellate Tax Board (board) upholding the property tax assessments by the board of assessors of Boston (assessors) for fiscal year (FY) 2012 on certain personal property each company owns.  At issue is whether the tax assessments, which were based on a “split” tax rate structure determined in accordance with G. L. c. 40, § 56 (§ 56), constituted a disproportionate tax that, as such, violated the Constitution of the Commonwealth.  More particularly, the question is whether the split tax rate structure authorized by § 56 — a rate structure that provides for taxable personal property to be taxed at a rate identical to the rate applied to commercial and industrial real property but higher than the rate that would apply if all taxable property, real and personal, were taxed at a single, uniform rate — violates the proportionality requirement of Part II, c. 1, § 1, art. 4, of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, as amended by art. 112 of the Amendments to the Constitution, as well as art. 10 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.  We conclude that the split tax structure authorized by § 56 and related statutes does not violate the Massachusetts Constitution.  We affirm the board’s decision.[3] Background.[4]  a.  Procedural background.  Verizon New England Inc. (Verizon) and RCN BecoCom LLC (RCN) (collectively, taxpayers) are subject to property tax in the city of Boston on personal property consisting primarily of machinery, poles, underground conduits, wires, and pipes (§ 39 property) that they own and use for business purposes.  Pursuant […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 2, 2016 at 3:11 pm

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