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Property tax reportNGCOA SPECIAL REPORT

Property Taxes: Is Relief in Sight?

The decade of the 2000s may be remembered in the golf industry as the most active period ever for beneficial property-tax legislation.

In Maryland, South Carolina, Nevada and Virginia, tax-relief laws for golf property have been recently enacted. Just prior to the beginning of the decade, Arizona course owners successfully lobbied for relief from over-taxation. In several other states, draft legislation and organized efforts to advance the cause of course owners are in full force.

Of course, the success owners and operators are having in finding tax relief is being played out against the backdrop of frustration and confusion many feel pervades the property valuation process. It's also arguably the justifiable reward for those who have borne onerous tax bills that threaten their business and livelihoods. In other words, there would not be success if there were not also inequities creating the need for proactive measures.

Golf courses represent a unique combination of real property, personal property and business enterprise. As a result, they are unwieldy and often unfamiliar entities for tax assessors. The uniformity that makes appraisal and assessment possible and fairly straightforward in residential real estate is absent once you step onto any golf course.

In the current overbuilt condition of the public golf market, price increases are not an automatic or prudent recourse when a property tax bump arrives in the mail. Nor is a cutback in maintenance or other operating budgets a prudent action with the competitive nature of the business today. So more and more owners are deciding to disprove the notion that you can't fight city hall. Property tax assessment and collection, while not conceived as an advocacy system, seems to have evolved into one.

This report from the National Golf Course Owners Association examines the current state of the property tax issue from the perspective of owners and operators.


© 2000, National Golf Course Owners Association