Eric Kodesch authored an article for the Journal of Multistate Taxation and Incentives "Shop Talk" column titled "Oregon Supreme Court Finalizes DOR’s Complete Victory in Central Assessment Dispute." In the article, Kodesch discusses the recent Oregon Supreme Court decision in DISH Network Corporation v. Department of Revenue. When coupled with Comcast Corporation v. Department of Revenue, the decision finalizes the victory of the Oregon Department of Revenue ("Department") in a long-fought battle with the communications industry.
Understanding the scope of the Department's victory requires familiarity with two key aspects of Oregon property tax: central assessment and Measure 50.
Central Assessment: As described in Comcast, central assessment arose in the second half of the 19th century to address the difficulty of determining the value of a taxpayer's property in a particular county where the property was part of a unit that operated in several counties or states. For example, the only tangible property a railroad may have in a county are railroad tracks. If those tracks are part of an interstate network (the unit), the value of the tracks exceeds the amount it would cost to replace the tracks. In addition, it would be unduly burdensome for the railroad company if each county in which the railroad had tracks separately assessed the tracks or other railroad property in the county. Central assessment solves these issues by having the Department handle the assessment of the applicable property.