January 3, 2014 ~ In 2013, Governor Branstad signed into law legislation establishing a Business Property Tax Credit (BPTC) for qualifying commercial, industrial or railway property in Iowa. Applications must be filed in the assessor's office by January 14, 2014, for the first year application and tax credit. Any forms received after this date will miss the credit for the first year. Once the BPTC is assigned, property owners will not have to refile for it, unless there is a change in the ownership. After this first year, the deadline for each subsequent year to file is March 15th of each year.
Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota Law Firm News
Goosmann Law Firm Attorney Emilee Boyle Gehling is celebrating her 5th year anniversary of her swearing-in to the Iowa Bar. Emilee makes deals happen, focusing her practice on business and corporate work. Congratulations, Emilee!
Goosmann Law Firm, PLC Attorney Jeana Goosmann outlines the steps that can be taken in order to advance your electrical easement project. Any electric line which operates 69,000 volts or more requires a franchise, or permit, from the Iowa Utilities Board. Click here to learn more about electrical line easement franchising.
Following a two day trial in Sioux City, Iowa, Goosmann Law Firm, PLC defense team Anthony Osborn and Chris Barondeau won a complete defense verdict on behalf of the co-executor of an estate which contained, among other assets, substantial farmland. The plaintiff contested the will, alleging lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence. The judge ruled that the Plaintiff failed to prove her case and upheld the last will and testament. Commenting on the full defense verdict, Attorney Jeana Goosmann responded “Excellent legal victory. Goosmann Law is proud to uphold the last will and testament in this contentious farm estate. As the value of farmland rises, so are will contests in Iowa.”
A deed in lieu of foreclosure transfers real estate from the owner/debtor to the mortgage-holder. This may be an attractive route to take in some situations after the borrower defaults. For instance, in cases involving commercial property or low-value property, it may be more efficient from both borrower and mortgage-holder to avert the mortgage foreclosure process. An important factor to consider is whether there are junior lien holders who would be affected by the deed in lieu of foreclosure process. A junior lien holder's interest would generally be cut off upon the completion of a foreclosure. Because the deed in lieu process avoids foreclosure, the junior lien holder's interest would still remain to blacken the title.
All across the United States, real estate values have dropped dramatically. Many properties have not been accurately reassessed for property tax purposes. Property taxes are meant to be based on the value of the property. A property tax assessor places both an assessed and taxable value on a property, often based on what it would cost to replace the property. This assessed and/or taxable value of the property directly relates to the amount of property tax each property owner pays. Issues with property taxes lie with whether the property is really worth what the assessor says it is. What is the property's fair market value (FMV), as opposed to its replacement cost? This question is especially important for industrial and commercial taxpayers with multiple business locations. Many property owners are overpaying on property taxes, as there may be a substantial gap between the assessed value and the actual value of the property.
KTIV News Channel 4 highlights the ups and downs of securing Historic Tax Credits in order to preserve the integrity of historical buildings during commercial real estate development. Some say the program is over-restrictive and inflexible. While others are able to showcase the positive results that come from taking advantage of Historic Tax Credits - commercial spaces can then compete in a competitive market after renovation. The Goosmann Law Firm, PLC restored the historic Lerch building that had been sitting vacant for several years. Located in downtown Sioux City, we are proud to have preserved the Lerch building for the Siouxland community.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a helpful tool your business can utilize when developing commercial property. Cities or counties (Tax Authority) designate TIF Areas to encourage economic development in specific geographic areas. Here is how it works: The Tax Authority freezes the tax valuation of the site before development. In exchange for a minimum assessed property value, the Tax Authority may reimburse the developer for costs of construction for development of the property or invest in public improvements to aid in its development. The Tax Authority then uses the incremental taxes to pay the indebtedness it accrued as a result of the development agreement it enters with the developer.
Sabre Industries, Inc. held a ribbon cutting last week at Southbridge Business Park, located in Sioux City, Iowa. This 150 acre industrial complex allows the communication and electric transmission structure manufacturer to keep all Sioux City operations at one location. The 192,000 square foot complex offers a streamlined and efficient manufacturing production space. Sioux City was one of many prospective locations across the country for the new development. There is tremendous room for expansion and as well as a highly-skilled workforce to fulfill the 532 jobs that this development will create. Sabre Industries Inc. is pleased to keep Iowa operations in Sioux City. Learn more about Sabre Industries HERE.
When buying or selling commercial property, it is prudent to determine whether there are potential environmental issues lurking under the ground. Purchasers often hire consultants to provide Phase I environmental assessments of the property they intend to purchase. A Phase I survey identifies environmental concerns such as the presence of underground storage tanks, soil or groundwater contamination, asbestos, lead paint, and radon. To complete his/her report, a consultant makes a visual inspection of the land, reviews public environmental records, and talks to current and past owners about their environmental practices.
Should a Phase I report reveal potential environmental liabilities, a Purchaser should request a Phase II survey, which includes soil and groundwater sampling for pollutants. The Phase II investigation will require the consultant to dig into the property, and the purchase agreement should grant access to the land for this purpose. Once potential issues are identified, the parties can negotiate costs and liability and explore options to shift or allocate risk.
Generally, the Purchaser and Seller can negotiate who pays for costs of remediation, timing, environmental cleanup costs, and the state of the property to be purchased at closing. The Seller may also indemnify the Purchaser against latent environmental liabilities. In addition, the parties may purchase pollution insurance to shift the risk of unknown pollutants to an insurance company. The pollution insurance may cover damages for bodily injury, property damage, business stoppage expenses, attorney fees, and cleanup costs. Generally, however, this type of insurance requires a large initial premium payment.
When environmental issues are identified, the parties should seek legal counsel to advise them on these issues, as well as state and local environmental laws. The parties may be required to report results of environmental surveys to state and/or local regulatory agencies. In some cases, a state agency can provide the assurances needed for a concerned Purchaser.