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Abington Ctr. Assocs. Ltd. Pshp. v. Baltimore County

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

May 29, 1997, FILED

No. 1202, SEPTEMBER TERM, 1996

Opinion

 [*582]   [**166]  Opinion by Hollander, J.

In this case, we must determine whether a taxpayer who has not paid a disputed Baltimore County transfer tax must pursue an administrative remedy before challenging in circuit court the transfer tax and imposition of a lien on its property. Abington Center Associates Limited Partnership ("Abington"), appellant, instituted a declaratory judgment action in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, claiming that Baltimore County (the "County"), appellee, improperly assessed a transfer tax in the amount of $ 83,840.00, and then [***2]  unconstitutionally imposed a lien on Abington's property when it refused to pay the tax. The circuit court concluded that appellant failed to exhaust its administrative remedies and dismissed the suit.

 [*583]  Appellant noted a timely appeal and presents a pentad of questions for our consideration, which we have rephrased slightly.

I. Does the Maryland Tax Court have jurisdiction over challenges to the Baltimore County transfer tax? If so, has such jurisdiction been implemented?

II. Does the Circuit Court for Baltimore County have jurisdiction over this dispute under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act, without exhaustion of administrative remedies, because the constitutionality of the statute under which Appellee acted was challenged?

III. Does the Circuit Court for Baltimore County have jurisdiction over this dispute under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act, without exhaustion of remedies, because there was no adequate administrative remedy available to Appellant?

IV. Does Baltimore County Code § 33-137 violate Appellant's right to due process of law pursuant to the provisions of Article  [**167]  24 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments [***3]  to the United States Constitution?

V. Did Appellee erroneously assess and/or calculate the local transfer tax?

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115 Md. App. 580 *; 694 A.2d 165 **; 1997 Md. App. LEXIS 92 ***

ABINGTON CENTER ASSOCIATES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP v. BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND

Prior History:  [***1]  APPEAL FROM THE Circuit Court for Baltimore County. Edward A. DeWaters, Jr., JUDGE.

Disposition: ORDER DISMISSING CASE VACATED. CASE REMANDED TO THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR BALTIMORE COUNTY FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS CONSISTENT WITH THIS OPINION. APPELLEE TO PAY COSTS.

CORE TERMS

transfer tax, refund, taxpayer, county code, administrative remedy, circuit court, taxes, Deed, exhaustion, provisions, statutory remedy, refund claim, appeals, refund action, disputed tax, injunctive, collected, declaratory judgment, pay tax, disputed, protest, legislative intent, finance director, recorded, courts, voluntary payment, declaratory, statutory provisions, fee simple title, revision

Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Reviewability, Jurisdiction & Venue, Civil Procedure, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, General Overview, Tax Law, State & Local Taxes, Administration & Procedure, Judicial Review, Reviewable Agency Action, Exhaustion of Remedies, Justiciability, Exhaustion of Remedies, Administrative Remedies, Governments, Legislation, Statutory Remedies & Rights, Failure to Exhaust, Declaratory Judgments, State Declaratory Judgments, Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act, Judgments, Appeals, Dismissal of Appeals, Local Governments, Charters, Finance, Real Property Taxes, Interpretation, Effect & Operation, Remedies, Sales Taxes, Taxpayer Protests, Preliminary Considerations, Equity, Credits, Overassessments & Refunds