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Exxon Mobil fighting its tax bill

Of course they are.

BagOfMoney

Exxon Mobil is fighting the Harris County Appraisal District over the $1.04 billion value placed on its sprawling new office complex in Spring, just south of The Woodlands.

The oil giant, which has been guarded about the campus project, would not provide its own estimation of the property’s value. But its appeal claims the actual value “is substantially below” what was assessed.

The company paid nearly $40 million in 2015 taxes for the property west of Interstate 45 at the Hardy Toll Road, although it continues to dispute the amount. It could be headed to a jury trial to resolve the matter.

Like thousands of commercial property owners do every year, Exxon Mobil protested the appraisal after it received its 2015 tax bill. When a review board maintained the initial assessment, Exxon Mobil filed suit, one of the options a property owner has when not satisfied with the decision.

The company said the valuation was “excessive and unequal in comparison with other similar property in the appraisal district,” according to its lawsuit filed Sept. 16 by Exxon Mobil affiliate Palmetto Transoceanic. The property’s actual value “is substantially below” the appraisal review board’s determination, the company said.

[…]

Exxon Mobil has spent several years developing a state-of-the-art corporate campus on several hundred acres in Spring to house some 10,000 workers.

The Irving-based energy giant recently completed construction on 14 office buildings, three parking garages, four support buildings, a central utility plant and a child care center on 242 acres, according to a document from the Harris County Improvement District No. 18, which was set up to issue bonds and levy taxes for infrastructure improvements in the area.

There’s nothing unusual about this – as the story notes, there are over 2,500 similar protests going on right now in Harris County. The reason for that, and the reason why Exxon Mobil will almost surely win in the end, is because the system is rigged in favor of large commercial property owners. The Legislature did take one small step towards leveling the playing field last year, so Exxon Mobil will have to work a little harder to get its taxes slashed. But barring anything unusual, it will be a big upset if they fail.

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