Court: Town didn’t have authority to fix property assessment

October 1, 2021 GMT

MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) — A judge was wrong to decide that the town of Merrimack could correct its undervaluation of the Merrimack Premium Outlets Center by adjusting its assessment, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled Friday.

In 2016, the town conducted a revaluation of all taxable property. It assessed the outlets property at $86.5 million.

Later that year, the town became aware that the property has been used in or about 2013 as collateral for a loan and had been valued for that purpose at $220 million. Based on that information, the town believed it had severely undervalued the property and reassessed it for the 2017 tax year at $154.1 million.

Merrimack Premium Outlets took the matter to court, saying there were no changes in either the property or the market that justify the 2017 reassessment. A judge found in favor of the town in 2019. Merrimack Premium Outlets appealed to the state supreme court.

The court concluded that an adjustment to an assessment requires an actual change in the property’s market value. It disagreed with the town that another law gave it the right to correct an undervaluation.