Congratulations to the Sommerdorfs for winning a sweeping victory in their property tax appeal in Sherburne County. The Tax Court's decision was well written and broad in scope with potential implications for other counties and property owners statewide.
The County has yet to decide if it will appeal the decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court. However, Department of Revenue policy already had changed before the January 21, 2010 tax court decision to acknowledge that pasture used for grazing boarded horses is an "agricultural product raised for sale." And I have drafted new legislation on behalf of the Minnesota Horse Council in consultation with the Department of Revenue, the Department of Agriculture, the new Minnesota Stable Owners Association, and many individual taxpayers. This new legislation would essentially codify in statute the Tax Court's opinion in the Sommerdorf case, that horse training and riding instruction are not to be considered commercial activity but rather are integral to horse boarding.
In the next couple of weeks we hope to have companion bills introduced in the House and Senate that will resolve this issue once and for all. Stay tuned, and be prepared to contact your local legislators to encourage their support. In the meantime, if you would like a copy of Sommerdorf v. County of Sherburne, (Court File No. 71-CV-08-752 )it is available by query on the Tax Court's web site.
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