Bradford, Edward F. Fox, Peter L. Gregory, Bassford Remele,
P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Robert A. Hill, Robert Hill
Law, Ltd., Wayzata, Minnesota, for relator.
Orput, Washington County Attorney, James C. Zuleger,
Assistant County Attorney, Stillwater, Minnesota, for
Considered and decided by the court without oral argument.
L. Lillehaug, Associate Justice
consolidated appeals arise out of the tax courts dismissal
of two petitions that relator Wal-Mart Real Estate Business
Trust (Trust) filed in Washington County (County). The
petitions challenged valuations for properties in Cottage
Grove and Woodbury for taxes payable in 2017. The tax court
dismissed the petitions, concluding that the Trust was
subject to— and had failed to satisfy— the
property tax mandatory-disclosure provision, Minn. Stat. §
278.05, subd. 6(a) (2018).
trigger the mandatory-disclosure provision, the property at
issue must be "income-producing." The Trust argues
that its properties are not income-producing for three
reasons. First, the Trust asserts that "vestibule
businesses" on its properties do not make those
properties income-producing. The Trust argues that the
vestibule businesses are part of Walmarts business
enterprise, are not subject to market-based leases that would
indicate property value, and are irrelevant to the income
approach to property valuation. Second, the Trust argues that
it does not receive anything from the vestibule businesses as
the properties owner. Third, the Trust argues it did not
"admit" that the disclosure statute applies simply
by attempting to comply with it.
County asserts that the Trusts properties are
income-producing because the properties generate income from
third-party entities who occupy space on the properties.
resolved a similar tax appeal last term in Wal-Mart Real
Estate Business Trust v. County of Anoka, 931 N.W.2d 382
(Minn. 2019). In County of Anoka, the Trust argued
that its properties were not income-producing because the
vestibule businesses: generated rental income for Walmart,
Inc. rather than the Trust; were subject to national rather
than local agreements; and were tied to Walmarts business
enterprise and were not relevant to valuation. We rejected
those arguments and held that the Trusts Anoka properties
were income-producing and were thus subject to the
mandatory-disclosure provision and, further, that the Trust
had failed to satisfy the provisions requirements.
Id. at 388-89.
ordered supplemental briefing to address whether County
of Anoka controls the disposition in this consolidated
appeal. The Countys brief asserts that County of
Anoka is controlling in all aspects. The Trusts brief
asserts that County of Anoka is distinguishable
based on the more comprehensive disclosures in this case and
affidavits that clarify the relationship between the
vestibule businesses and Walmart, Inc.
have reviewed carefully all of the Trusts submissions and
conclude that County of Anoka is directly on point
in all relevant respects and controls the disposition of
these consolidated cases. We therefore affirm the decision of
the tax court.
ANDERSON, J., took no part in the consideration or ...