Brollier wins court of appeals victory on greenhouse tax valuation
Bricker & Eckler partner Jon Brollier represented Green Circle Growers, a family-owned company with one of the largest greenhouse operations in the United States, in a tax appeal relating to the classification of commercial greenhouses as real or personal property. In 2018, the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals agreed with Green Circle Growers and classified the greenhouses as business fixtures, which are a type of personal property. Local officials appealed that decision, and on March 29, 2021, Ohio’s Ninth District Court of Appeals sided with Green Circle, rejecting arguments from the local officials, who had “ask[ed] for greenhouses to be included in property valuations as real property.” The Court’s decision cited binding precedent from the Ohio Supreme Court in an earlier case, Metamora Elevator Co. v. Fulton Cty. Bd. Of Revision, which Brollier had also successfully led.
The decision resulted in a roughly 75 percent reduction in annual real property taxes. The Ohio Board of Tax Appeals ruled in favor of Bricker’s client, finding the greenhouses constitute personal property, not real estate, and therefore the property owner should not pay real property tax on them.