Woodbury residents John and Carrie Beck were given a victory, of sorts, last week after the Minnesota State Supreme Court reversed and remanded a tax court decision on a $4,086 tax bill it was handed by Todd County in late 2008.
The Becks have been challenging the tax statement, for taxes due in 2009, arguing the county "grossly overvalued" the property they developed in 2001 in Turtle Lake Township.
Statements show Todd County valued the property at nearly $400,000, with a total market value of $397,400.
The Becks, both certified Realtors, did extensive research in late 2008 after being issued that bill for 2009. In their research, according to court documents, they found the 1.2-acre parcel on Pine Island lake was probably worth closer to $252,800, or more than $144,000 less.
Todd County rejected the Becks appeal during its state-mandated Truth-in-Taxation hearings, and the Woodbury couple took the matter to tax court. The courts upheld the decision, so the Becks continued to push the argument, winding up in the State Supreme Court late last year.
The high court determined, in an opinion penned by Justice Barry G. Anderson, the tax court "failed to explain why it rejected the extensive evidence offered by the realtor [Carrie Beck] in support of his petition for tax relief. We remand the tax court to consider Realtor's evidence."
Anderson also called the tax court's decision not to include evidence provided by the Becks "raises doubts over whether the tax court exercised its own skill and independent judgment," citing a case the court ruled in favor of the Eden Prairie Mall vs. Hennepin County in 2011.
John Beck represented himself per se, a rare feat in the state's high court according to local attorneys who weighed in on the decision via social media and emails with Patch.com.