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Assessor Will Not Appeal 49ers Stadium Tax Ruling

The Santa Clara County Assessor says he will not appeal a California Superior Court ruling that favored the 49ers in a property tax dispute, thus ending his fight against the Assessment Appeals Board (AAB).

Assessor Larry Stone is quick to say that this was never about the 49ers, but about the AAB and its position.

“Many people think I sued the 49ers, but that is not the case,” clarified Stone in a news release. “My legal challenge is with how the AAB reached its decision. I believe that the AAB’s ruling did not take into consideration the value of all of the 49ers’ private interests in the stadium, which allowed the 49ers to generate significant revenue not only from sporting events, but also concerts, corporate conferences, and retail and restaurant spaces.

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“How can you ignore the benefits to the 49ers when the stadium hosts a Taylor Swift concert or an international soccer game?” continued Stone.

In 2015, Stone’s office first filed an appeal with the AAB, disputing the board’s claim that the 49ers were only responsible for 50% of the property tax due on Levi’s Stadium.

Stone appealed again in 2019 when the AAB upheld the property tax decision and determined that the 49ers were owed $30.8 million in property tax overpayments.

In December 2023, a judge ruled in favor of the AAB. It is a ruling that Stone will not appeal to a higher court even though he believes it to be wrong.

“I believe we made the correct assessment of the stadium, and I stand behind the work of the expert certified appraisers on my staff,” said Stone, “but the result, on balance, does not merit an appeal, so we accept the decision of the court.”

Property Tax Repayment Completed by SCUSD, City

As with all property taxes, the money is split between the County, the city where the property resides and local school districts. When the 2019 ruling was made, the City of Santa Clara and the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) needed to repay the property tax overpayment.

SCUSD reports that the $13.1 million that needed to be repaid following the 2019 ruling has been repaid and that no money is still owed. Since the ruling, SCUSD has set its budget and projected property tax revenue based on the 2019 ruling of the AAB. Therefore, the district will see no ill effect from Stone’s latest announcement.

The City has a similar report. According to City Finance Director Kenn Lee, the County deducted the overpayments from the City’s future property tax revenues, so the $2.9 million owed by the City has, in essence, been “paid back.”

Lee also says that this most recent ruling does not affect the City’s budget.

“The final ruling does not change the status quo,” said Lee. “Since the 49ers successfully appealed their 2019 property tax bill, the elevated property tax payments have not been received, so there is no loss of additional revenue associated with the final ruling.”

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2 Comments
  1. wesley mukoyama 3 weeks ago
    Reply

    I suspect that he was just following Mayor Gilmor’s request who has been feuding with the 49ers for a long time. She has influence with he old guard like the county assessor.

  2. SC Resident 3 weeks ago
    Reply

    Pretty sad that a billionaire like Jed York has to take from SCUSD by underpaying property taxes. And the residents pay for it.

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