Lawyers who Excel.
For more than seven decades, Bernstein Shur has counseled municipalities and private clients on local property taxation, property valuation, and assessment. Businesses, developers, municipalities, and not-for-profit entities rely on our team of nationally respected attorneys for guidance in how property will or should be locally assessed for property tax and economic development purposes.
View our attorneys in this practice
Business Restructuring & Insolvency
Land Use & Environmental
Municipal & Governmental Services
Clear communication and information-sharing between taxpayers and assessors are crucial to establishing a property’s fair and just assessment. To ensure careful and collaborative solutions to assessment challenges, we flex our Excel muscles and dig into the details of each unique assessment scenario. We pride ourselves on being proficient in math and excel and paying attention to the numbers. And while we practice preventative law, making every effort to resolve disputes and avoid unnecessary litigation, we have the proven record of success to litigate to the highest courts.
The COVID-19 public health crisis has and will continue to cause severe disruptions to the ways in which municipalities and taxpayers conduct business, including how real and personal property is locally assessed. While core assessment principles and methodology remain the same, municipalities are facing unprecedented challenges during the assessment process, including government closures, remote work limitations, and a substantial increase in property tax assessment and abatement questions. At the same time, the legal landscape is rapidly evolving, with frequent federal and state legislation and executive orders issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
By staying up-to-date with the ever-changing governmental directives and drawing from lessons learned in past periods of economic distress, our team is here to help municipalities—and the businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and taxpayers who interact with them—navigate the novel property tax assessment and valuation challenges presented by COVID-19. We advise assessors and taxpayers on the immediate steps each should take during this disruption to the individual or mass appraisal system, including how best to track, analyze, and share important data to help ensure that real and personal property is fairly and equitably assessed.
Essential legal and communications services also are available by visiting Bernstein Shur’s Coronavirus Legal Response Team.
Our client partnerships run the gamut and our experience in property taxation is diverse, which means that we can develop creative yet practical strategies that not only satisfy our clients, but also help them preserve important local relationships. Whether you are a municipality, electric power generator, shopping center, industrial/manufacturing business, residential development, charitable or scientific institution, or homeowner—we have a tax solution for you.
We know that developers are increasingly attuned to the impact of property tax costs. We’ll collaborate with you prior to construction to make project valuation for property tax purposes a keystone of your development process. Our approach encourages clients to be proactive with local municipalities, enabling them to anticipate and manage future tax obligations. We also work to reduce local tax uncertainty and provide important data for use in requests-for-proposals and economic development programs, such as tax increment financing.
We assist private and public clients with property tax abatements, exemptions, and valuation analysis and appeals concerning municipal property taxation. We’ve litigated many of Northern New England’s largest abatement proceedings, and collectively, we have decades of experience representing clients before all levels of the appeals process, including before the local municipal assessor, Boards of Assessment Review and County Commissioners, specialized State Boards of Property Tax Review, Superior and Trial Courts, and State Supreme Courts.
We have a deep, interdisciplinary bench. We are an associate member of the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO), and our team leader serves on the IAAO Task Force on Contracting for Assessment Services and routinely lectures across the country on emergent property tax issues facing municipalities, businesses, and homeowners.
True to its “Live Free or Die” motto, New Hampshire does not impose broad-based taxes. As a result, the real estate tax is the primary source of revenue for the state, counties and municipalities. All real estate taxes are assessed as of April 1 of each year by the municipality where the property is located. The assessed value should reflect the fair market value of the property as of the assessment date after application of the municipality’s equalization ratio. New Hampshire law provides aggrieved commercial and residential property owners with a legal mechanism to seek an abatement of the assessed real estate tax. We anticipate that municipalities will receive an increased number of abatement applications over the next year, as a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We assist commercial and residential property owners with filing abatement applications. In the event you are interested in filing an abatement application or appealing an abatement decision, then we can help. Additionally, we have significant experience representing clients in abatement appeals before the Board of Tax and Land Appeals, the New Hampshire Superior Court, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about your options to ensure that your commercial or residential property is fairly and equitably assessed.
- Renewable Energy Generators, including wind, solar, hydro, biomass, & cogeneration
- Electric Power Generators
- Generation Leads & Transmission Lines
- Public Utility Infrastructure
- Battery & Storage Properties
- Commercial Properties, including New & Legacy Shopping Centers
- Industrial & Manufacturing Properties
- Residential Properties, including Condominiums & Apartment Buildings
- Tree Growth & Current Land Use Properties
- Taxable Personal Property
- Properties Exempt from Taxation
Our practice includes:
- Assisting public and private clients in property tax assessment and discrimination challenges before local assessors, appeal boards, the State Boards of Property Tax Review, and in courts
- Counseling national and international companies to develop tax strategies that ensure company assets receive a fair and equitable assessment for local taxation purposes
- Partnering with local counsel to review and draft pleadings
- Review of appraisal reports and valuation studies for use in abatement and other proceedings
- Assisting taxpayers and municipalities with assessment-related information requests