from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. TX 2016-000932
The Honorable Christopher T. Whitten, Judge
Mooney, Wright & Moore, PLLC, Mesa By Paul J. Mooney,
Bart S. Wilhoit Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Kenneth J.
Love, Macaen F. Mahoney Counsel for Defendants/Appellees
Maria Elena Cruz delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Presiding Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop and Judge Diane M.
In this centrally-valued property tax case, the Arizona Tax
Court ruled that the complaint Arizona Electric Power
Cooperative, Inc. ("AEPCO") filed to challenge the
value assigned by the Arizona Department of Revenue
("Department") and the Arizona State Board of
Equalization ("State Board") was untimely, and
dismissed the action. For the following reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The electric generation property at issue is located within
Cochise County ("County"), which collects taxes
imposed based on the Department's determination of value.
Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.")
section 42-14156, the Department determined the value of
AEPCO's property for tax year 2016 to be $148, 915, 000.
Before the State Board, AEPCO requested a full cash value of
$106, 030, 000, claiming the Department's proposed value
failed to take into account proper obsolescence factors under
A.R.S. § 42-14156(A)(4).
At the conclusion of a hearing on November 13, 2015, the
State Board announced it was upholding the Department's
valuation and set the full cash value of AEPCO's property
at $148, 915, 000. The State Board then issued a written
decision captioned "Findings of Fact, Decision and
Conclusions of Law, " dated and mailed on November 13
(the "November 13 Findings"), which incorrectly
listed the cash value of AEPCO's property as $188, 646,
735. Upon review of the November 13 Findings, counsel for the
Department emailed George Shook, the State Board's acting
chairman, noting the error, and AEPCO's property tax
agent agreed there was a mistake. Shook advised both parties
the State Board would issue an amended decision correcting
Accordingly, on November 16, the State Board issued an
"Amended Findings of Fact, Decision and Conclusions of
Law" stating the correct value (the "November 16
Findings"). The same day, the State Board posted on its
website a notice (the "November 16 Web Notice")
that reflected the correct valuation number but incorrectly
identified Maricopa County as the entity that valued the
property, instead of the Department. The November 16 Web
Notice also incorrectly listed a date of November 14, 2015,
instead of November 16, 2015.
Although the November 16 Findings recited the correct
valuation number, it contained a typographical error
("petition" was spelled "petiton"). Upon
discovery of the misspelling in the November 16 Findings and
the clerical error in the November 16 Web Notice, the State
Board issued a second "Amended Findings of Fact,
Decision and Conclusions of Law" on December 8, 2015
(the "December 8 Findings"), and posted a
"Corrected" Web Notice to its website (the
"December 7 Web Notice").
On February 3, 2016, AEPCO filed its complaint in tax court
challenging the State Board decision. The Department and the
County (collectively the "Defendants") moved to
dismiss the complaint as untimely, arguing the sixty-day
appeal window started running, at the latest, upon the
mailing of the November 16 Findings. The tax court ruled the
complaint was untimely and granted Defendants' motion to
dismiss. AEPCO timely appealed.
This court has jurisdiction of the appeal pursuant to ...