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Refusal to Allow Property Inspection Results in Withdrawing of a Tax Assessment Appeal

In Rasmussen v. Town of Fair Haven, 2016 VT 1 (January 8, 2016), the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed the assessment of a taxpayer’s property, finding that his appeal was withdrawn when he refused to allow the Board of Civil Authority (BCA) members to inspect his residence.

Issue: Taxpayer appealed to the BCA the assessment of his property, which is made up of 3 contiguous but separately-deeded parcels – one of which contains the Taxpayer’s residence, and the other two of which have rental homes. Taxpayer refused to allow the BCA members to inspect his residence, arguing that he was only appealing the valuation of the lots containing the rental properties. Under 32 V.S.A. 4404(c), the BCA considered the appeal withdrawn.

Holding: The Court affirmed the original assessment, finding that, under the statute, only the valuation of the whole parcel – not the valuation of its component parts – is subject to appeal. As such, the BCA was entitled to inspect the entire property, and the Taxpayer’s refusal to allow inspection in certain sections of his property acted to withdraw his appeal under the statute.

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