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[TowerTalk] Real Estate Taxes on Towers

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Real Estate Taxes on Towers
From: (Dan Keefe)
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 17:09:08 -0700
Jay O'Brien wrote:
> It seems to me that if you have a substantial investment in towers
> and feedlines that when you sell your property you could specifically
> include them as improvements.  Then you could negotiate with the new
> owner of the towers to remove them for the new owner at a minimum
> charge, or perhaps receiving the towers in payment for taking them
> down.

If you include the cost of the tower(s) and antennas you will likely
price the house above fair market value of comparable property and have
a tough time selling it, especially to a non ham who will see the
tower(s) as liability and proceed to buy a home in the neighborhood for
less money.

What Ed Gray is talking about is property appraisal for the purposes of
assigning a property tax valuation on the home. This is different from
the establishing market value prior to a proposed sale. I don't believe
that the county appraiser should assign a single dollar of value to the
towers or antennas at any residence. They have no value and in fact the
owner will likely have to take them down in order to sell the house. The
fact that they can be taken down and removed at will demonstrates that
they are not real property.  They have about the same standing as a
plant in a pot by the front door. The potted plant is personal property
with zero value to an appraiser while a plant three feet away is part of
the real estate and cannot be dug up and removed without the consent of
the buyer after the house is sold.
> Certainly then all the costs of the towers would be included in the
> basis of the sale of the property.

Again, not if you want to sell the property to a non ham radio operator.
Most buyers would not get out of their car to look at a house with a
tower and a tribander.  This fact makes RE sales people far less likely
to continue to show the house and reduces both the ease of sale and
possibly the price.
> This correspondence thread opens another thought.  If the towers are
> sold as part of the property, then maybe property tax should have been
> paid in previous years on the towers?  Interesting.

Nope, they are not real property because the attachment is temporary and
unrelated to the property.  Many things fall into this category.  A
swimming pool is assessed and has value because it must stay with the
property when the property is sold and adds to the value of the property
when compared to nearby similar properties with no pool. A fireplace has
similar value added properties when compared to an otherwise equal 
house nearby with no fireplace.
> Sometimes it doesn't pay to ask a question, because you might not like
> the answer!

This is often the case but in this situation I believe that Ed should be
able to make his case and prevail.  Cost of removal and the requirement
of a license to use the tower/antenna are his aces in the hole on this
argument.  He may have to go to a tax abatement hearing at the county
assessor's office but I still think he can make the case with ease.
> Jay O'Brien

Dan Keefe   -  Vista, CA
45 Miles North of San Diego - 8 miles East of the Pacific
Callsign  KS6Z  -  FISTS Number  3656 
Trustee of K6FFF - Vista Valley FISTS CW Club - FISTS #4444
Visit the Website for K7FFF - FISTS Northwest CW Club at:

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