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[TowerTalk] Current summary on Real Estate Taxes on Towers

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Current summary on Real Estate Taxes on Towers
From: (Ed Gray W0SD)
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 13:58:31 -0500
I have had some very, very helpful replies!  Thank you so much; especially
to Dan Keefe and Jim Heath!!!

First I did not get one single reply from anybody that their tower or
towers on residential property are taxed as real property.  I got numerous
e-mails that they were considered personal property.

There will always be the on-going arguement about real property and
personal property and whether it is bolted to the earth or not.  There are
a lot of exceptions to this so called assessors rule.  I have thought of
many and many more were suggested to me.  I think the bottom line is if the
item is permanent or is it temporty and typically moved.  Temporary does
not necessarily mean short term it just means in this situation it will go
with the home owner when they move. In literally every case an amateur
tower is moved when the amateur moves!

The concensus of Dan and Jim who have done tax consulting and assessing for
a living is that an amateur tower or towers on a piece of property add
nothing to the value of the property and likely decreases the value.  Even
after the towers are removed the concrete and associated things left likely
decrease the property value and certainly add nothing to it.

The reason amateur towers do not add to the value of property are many but
the bottom line is that typically the cost of removal exceeds the value of
the items removed.  The guy points, and concrete can not be salvaged and
can be very, very expensive to remove.  Use guy wire has nothing more than
salvage value and in the case of amateur towers the guy wires such as mine
are broken up every 27.5 foot so these short lengths of cable are not even
good salvage and very labor intensive to dispose of.  Used turnbuckles have
some value but used cable clamps and guy wraps do not have commercial value
as they don't know their condition.  At this point all we have left is the
value of the tower.  As a ham the minute your tower is finished the
sections become used sections and are no longer new but are now the used
value.  It is much worse than when you drive your new car off the lot!!!

Anyway the cost of getting down the sections(tower labor and or crane),
rolling up the salvage guy wires, unbolting everything and hauling it away
would almost always cost the new buyer more than they could get for the
used sections and the salvage!!!   Remember the new buyer is going to have
to get a commercial crew who is bonded for liability to take the tower down
unless they are pretty uniformed about liability consequences!!!

Where I really was helped by Dan and Jim is that a cost basis of appraisal
is not appropriate at all for this situation.  It needs to be a comparable
sales approach.  Can the assessor prove a house with a ham tower on the
open market is going to sell for more than a house without a ham tower.
The answer is they can not prove it as houses in residential areas with ham
towers are not going to sell for more and would like sell for less for a
lot of reasons!!! Another way of saying it is that what is costs me to put
up a tower has nothing to do with what it will do to the value of the
property.  Why does a tower typically depreciate the value of property?
The first one is the tower is no use to the typical buyer.  I would
interject here today that is more true than ever with cellular telephone
and small dish satellite as a tower would not be used for TV reception and
with cellular phones there would be no motivation to try and turn it into a
two-way tower which they could not do unless they got a variance or zoning
classification change.  

If it is pursued to the end and checked out it soon becomes understood the
prospective buyer is not going to pay more for the property on speculation
he can sell the towers and make money.  Typically he would lose money doing

At this point I am confident I will ultimately not have to pay real estate
taxes on my towers.  We will see how long it takes me to win!  Pray that it
will be quickly!  

Thank you and I will publish the outcome when it comes about!

73, Ed-W0SD

Ed Gray
Rt. 2, Box 151
Salem, SD 57058-9110 USA
605 425 2242 office
605 425 2787 office
605 425 3144 office FAX
605 425 2354 home

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