An Ohio Supreme Court decision made earlier this month ruled that grain storage bins are personal property pursuant to state law and may not be taxed as real property. In the case of Metamora Elevator Co. v. Fulton Cty. Bd. Of Revision (July 15, 2015), the court unanimously affirmed a ruling of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA), which determined that the actual value of property owned by Metamora Elevator Co. in Fulton County was $738,240 instead of the auditor’s assessed value of more than $1.8 million that included the storage bins. The court observed that historically the distinction between fixtures that were real property and those that were personal property was elusive. However, the General Assembly amended the definitions of “real property” and “personal property” in 1992.
According to Court News Ohio, Metamora’s eight-acre property includes buildings, silos, storage bins, and tanks for processing and storing grain. In March 2010, Metamora contested the county auditor’s property value on two parcels and claimed the storage bins should be removed from the assessment. The county board of revision, which considered Metamora’s complaints, rejected the claim. Metamora appealed the decision on one of the parcels to the BTA, which reversed, determining that the grain storage bins, valued at nearly $1.1 million, were personal property. In his written opinion, Justice Terrence O’Donnell noted a representative testifying for Metamora distinguished between concrete silos and corrugated metal storage bins. While the representative acknowledged that the silos on the land were permanent and constituted real property, he described the bins as modular units that can be disassembled and put back together. Justice O’Donnell citied the 1992 statute defining personal property, R.C. 5701.03, includes “business fixtures,” which are items of tangible personal property permanently attached or affixed to the land or to a building, structure, or improvement and primarily benefiting the business conducted on the property. The statute then lists “storage bins” as one type of business fixture. Justice O’Donnell concluded, "There is no dispute that the items at issue in this case are storage bins, and the General Assembly expressly stated that the term ‘business fixture’ includes storage bins as personal property. For these reasons, we affirm the decision of the BTA.”
For the full article from Court News Ohio, click here.