A team of Bricker attorneys recently obtained a favorable result on behalf of our client, Metamora Elevator Company, a subsidiary of The Andersons, Inc. On July 15, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court held that corrugated metal grain storage bins constitute personal property and, therefore, cannot be taxed as real property. The Court upheld the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals’ decision that these storage bins are temporary structures, which the laws governing the classification of property specify as being “business fixtures” — a category of personal property.
After hearing our argument, led by Jonathan Brollier of Bricker & Eckler’s Litigation group, the Court concluded that because the statute that defines certain categories of personal property specifies that “storage bins” are personal property, the Fulton County Auditor had erroneously classified (and taxed) the bins as real property. The Court also harmonized its earlier decisions on classifying real and personal property, clarifying the proper analysis for distinguishing between types of property.
This decision has statewide impact. Hundreds of millions of bushels of grain throughout the state are stored in grain storage bins like this property owner’s, and county auditors in Ohio had been classifying and taxing the bins inconsistently. Reflecting the importance of this case to the farming and agribusiness community, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Inc., the Fulton County Farm Bureau, the Ohio Agribusiness Association and the Central Ohio Farmers Co-Op had all filed amicus briefs in support of our client’s position.
The Court’s full decision in Metamora Elevator Co. v. Fulton County Bd. of Revision, et al. can be found here.