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Amendment 73 creates unintended consequences

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The information contained herein is believed accurate and suitable for the limited uses, and subject to the limitations, set forth above. We affirm the BAA's order. At issue in this appeal is whether, under the applicable property tax scheme, a second abatement-refund petition challenging a property tax assessment is permissible for the same property for the same tax year. We agree with the BAA and the BOCC that principles of res judicata or claim preclusion bar subsequent abatement-refund petitions for the same property for the same tax year.

The relevant facts are not in dispute. Because these tax years are part of the same biennial reassessment cycle involving the same valuation base period, the valuation of the subject property generally should be the same for both tax years, absent certain statutory exceptions not applicable here.

The protest and adjustment procedure and the abatement and refund procedure are separate and independent procedural schemes for the adjudication of property tax disputes and are governed by different statutes. Huerfano County Bd.


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Richfield Co. Here, taxpayer obtained successive valuation reductions regarding the subject property for the tax year at different stages of the protest and adjustment procedure. After each of these valuation reductions, taxpayer filed a separate set of abatement-refund petitions for the tax year, each set based on the tax year valuation reduction obtained to that point under the protest and adjustment scheme.

This appeal concerns the propriety of the second set of abatement-refund petitions for the tax year.

Still dissatisfied, taxpayer appealed the BOE's tax year valuation to the BAA, seeking a further valuation reduction. Taxpayer had not previously challenged the tax year valuation under the protest and adjustment procedure. This valuation was not further appealed. The BOCC denied the second set of tax year abatement-refund petitions based on res judicata, and taxpayer appealed the denial of these petitions to the BAA. The BOCC moved to dismiss, asserting that taxpayer had already exhausted its remedies under the abatement and refund procedure for the tax year based on the first set of abatement-refund petitions.

Following a hearing on the BOCC's motion, the BAA dismissed taxpayer's appeal regarding the second set of abatement-refund petitions for the tax year. The BAA first ruled that there was no statutory authority for a taxpayer to file two separate abatement-refund petitions for the same real property for the same tax year.

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The BAA further ruled that the requirements for res judicata or claim preclusion were satisfied under the circumstances here, and that taxpayer's claims in the second set of abatement-refund petitions were precluded by the final resolution of the first set of abatement-refund petitions. This appeal followed. Taxpayer contends that the BAA erred in dismissing its administrative appeal under these circumstances.

We perceive no error in the BAA's ruling that res judicata or claim preclusion principles barred taxpayer's claims in the second set of abatement-refund petitions concerning the valuation of the subject property for the tax year.

Determine Whether an Appeal Is Justified

In our view, the statutory provisions governing the abatement and refund procedure do not address the issue as to whether multiple abatement-refund petitions are permissible regarding the same property for the same tax year. Section 1 a I A , C. As we read the language of the pertinent statutory provisions, there is nothing in the statutory scheme governing the abatement and refund procedure either authorizing or prohibiting multiple abatement-refund petitions challenging the valuation placed on the same property for the same tax year under the circumstances in this case.

Thus, we agree with the BAA that resolution of the legal question presented here turns on res judicata or claim preclusion principles.

Next, we reject taxpayer's challenges to the BAA's ruling that its claims in the second set of abatement-refund petitions were barred by res judicata or claim preclusion principles under the circumstances here. Although developed in the context of judicial proceedings, res judicata or claim preclusion principles may be applied to administrative proceedings as well, including tax matters.

See Holnam, Inc. Claim Appeals Office, P.

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Where applicable, res judicata or claim preclusion operates to bar litigation not only of matters actually decided in the earlier proceedings, but also of matters that could have been raised in the earlier proceedings, but were not. Holnam, Inc. Gavrilis, P.


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Like the BAA, we conclude that these requirements were satisfied under the circumstances here, and that the final adjudication of taxpayer's claims in the first set of abatement-refund petitions precluded its further claims in the second set of abatement-refund petitions regarding the valuation placed on the subject property for the tax year. In this regard, we first note that it is undisputed that the parties to the two sets of abatement-refund actions are identical. Contrary to taxpayer's argument, its first abatement-refund action regarding the tax year was litigated in quasi-judicial proceedings that culminated in a final adjudication of its claims for that tax year.