Miles & Stockbridge's tax lawyers work closely with the firm's strong regional real estate practice to provide our clients with comprehensive real estate tax planning services from acquisition through disposition. Whether client concerns involve structuring an investment vehicle for maximum tax advantage, managing the tax consequences of a real property purchase or sale, or appealing a property tax valuation, our lawyers have the integrated business and tax knowledge to plan a strategy that maximizes financial advantages and minimizes tax burdens.
Thoroughly understanding the goals and objectives of a real estate deal is the foundation of our transactional tax planning. We advise our clients on utilizing and structuring the proper entity (whether a limited liability company, limited partnership, business trusts, or some other form) to make the purchase; a choice often crucial in obtaining favorable tax treatment for the transaction as a capital gain rather than as ordinary income, or as a transfer of ownership interests in a real estate owning entity in order to avoid state and local transfer and recordation taxes. Similarly, for large, multi-investor transactions involving real estate investment trusts, we undertake the tax planning for both clients who want to join the REIT in some fashion, such as through an UPREIT, or representing the REIT itself in its asset acquisitions and divestitures.
Property taxes are a prime concern of real property owners, and Miles & Stockbridge has had tremendous success at using its statewide resources for successful management of the Maryland property tax appeal process. National developers of shopping malls and other retail property have sought our help in handling the appeal of substantial increased assessments. While our lawyers are frequently successful in first-stage appeals to the property assessor, the firm is fully prepared to pursue the appeal process to the appropriate Property Tax Appeal Board or the Maryland Tax Court. We have strong working relationships with state tax personnel at each appeal level, as well as a national network of qualified real estate appraisers. While the main focus of our property tax appeal work is the triennial assessment process, we are also skilled at using a real estate sale to appeal property taxes if the market value established by the transaction is below the tax assessment — a value-added service to clients that typifies the business judgment we bring to the real estate tax planning process.