Lowe’s is a home-improvement center behemoth with more than 1,800 stores registering $59.1 billion in annual retail sales in 2015, a nearly 18-percent leap in five years.
But the North Carolina-based chain, in a sweeping effort throughout the U.S., including Alabama, to slash its taxes, wants courts to re-evaluate the market value of its stores, basically assigning them the same value as an empty building.
Alabama is no different…
In Alabama, Lowe’s attorneys have filed lawsuits seeking value reductions for 27 home centers. The lawsuits include stores in smaller cities such as Muscle Shoals and Hartselle and those in metropolitan cities such as Birmingham and Mobile.
This is obviously making people upset.
“The loss of money would just be astronomical,” said Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.
Brasfield said the state could lose roughly $1.5 million annually in revenues based on the number of Lowe’s challenging their assessments.
“We certainly believe that other similar retailers will follow suit and that the loss of revenue would snow ball,” Brasfield said.
It’s about school revenue and if Lowe’s wins others will follow…
What can Alabama do?
Alabama has already made some pre-emptive strikes to shore up its position.
The Legislature, during the 2016 spring session, approved allowing county commissions to hire outside counsel to handle commercial property tax appeals.Before that, Alabama law tasked individual district attorneys with defending the cases.
There is no indication that the Alabama Legislature will introduce additional legislation.
This will be a prickly issue but if Lowe’s win, I assume the legislature will do something about this.
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