The Appellate Group

Durbano Properties v. Utah State Tax Commission

Durbano Properties v. Utah State Tax Commission, 2023 UT 6 (Hagen, J.)

Statutory Interpretation

Durbano received a property tax exemption for several years until 2018. The County then denied the exemption, concluding the property was not being used as a primary residence as required by statute. Durbano challenged the decision before the Commission arguing that the property qualified for an exemption under the relevant statute. Durbano also argued the statutory definition of “residential property” was unconstitutional. The Commission agreed the property did not qualify for the exemption and declined to reach the constitutional argument. The Utah Supreme Court declined to disturb the Commission’s decision, holding:

  • The relevant constitutional provision was permissive, and residential property owners have no constitutional entitlement to a tax exemption.
  • The Court had previously addressed the legislature’s definition of residential property finding it did not violate the constitution.
  • Practice Tip: Merely suggesting the relevant case law language was “dicta” and “not appropriate grounds for resolving the case” was insufficient for the Court to reconsider its prior case law interpreting the relevant statutory language.

Read the full court opinion