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Local Governments Fend Off Verizon Tax Challenge

Published on: 8/24/2011

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA--On August 3, 2011, Verizon Virginia, Inc. and Verizon South, Inc. each moved the State Corporation Commission to dismiss their pending applications at the Commission challenging the Commission's assessments for all of their personal property, except vehicles, for tax years 2009 and 2010.

This action came after firm opposition to the applications by local governments including over two dozen represented by Sands Anderson PC's local government lawyers. On August 23, the Commission accepted the Verizon companies' motions to dismiss their challenge to 2009 and 2010 local property tax assessments of the Commission and issued orders dismissing these cases, meaning Virginia municipalities will not be forced to issue refunds that could have totaled tens of millions of dollars for each challenged year.

 "This is a rewarding result in a complex case waged by the legal forces of a global corporation at a time when local governments can ill afford to lose a significant source of revenue," said Daniel M. Siegel, chair of the Local Government practice team at the law firm.

"Verizon's withdrawal in the face of stiff opposition affirmed our strategy of having a number of localities, from urban to rural, joined together to defend their common interests," said Siegel. He explained Sands Anderson was able to represent rural, developing and urban localities affordably because of the economies of scale in representing so many localities.

These cases were litigated for well over a year.  Verizon's applications faced stiff opposition by both the State Corporation Commission staff and by a large number of Virginia localities, which would have been required to issue refunds in the event that Verizon was successful.  The SCC staff and the localities fought hard to require Verizon to produce important information related to the property and issues in question. During the year, local governments received several significant rulings in their favor compelling production of critical documents by Verizon. Defending the Commission's assessments and opposing Verizon's applications for refunds were the team of Andrew R. McRoberts, James E. Cornwell, Jr., and Ann Neil Cosby for the twenty-six clients of Sands Anderson.

About Sands Anderson PC

Founded in 1842, Sands Anderson PC provides innovative legal solutions to clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region with top-tier attorneys. Our firm represents businesses, healthcare providers, financial institutions, state and local governments, the insurance industry, and individuals from our five offices located throughout Virginia and North Carolina. Sands Anderson's shareholders are committed to providing an innovative and inclusive workplace for our lawyers and staff, as well as supporting the economic growth of communities where we operate.

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