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Reints v. Pennington County

Supreme Court of South Dakota

August 26, 2015

JOHN REINTS, Appellant,
v.
PENNINGTON COUNTY, JANET SAYLER, in her official capacity as Pennington County Treasurer, Appellees, and SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, Appellee.

CONSIDERED ON BRIEFS ON APRIL 20, 2015

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT PENNINGTON COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA THE HONORABLE ROBERT GUSINSKY Judge

JOHN REINTS Pro se appellant.

MARK A. VARGO Pennington County State's Attorney

KINSLEY P. GROOTE Pennington County State's Attorney's Office Attorneys for appellees Pennington County and Janet Sayler.

GILBERTSON, CHIEF JUSTICE

[¶1.] John Reints appeals the decision of the South Dakota Department of Revenue (the Department) affirming the decision of the Pennington County Treasurer's Office (the County) to deny his application for a prohibition on the collection of real property taxes in 2014. Reints asserts that once certain statutory requirements have been met, the County is prohibited from collecting any property taxes, including tax obligations that have already accrued. Although we do not agree with the Department's analysis, we nevertheless affirm the Department's decision on other grounds.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2.] The relevant facts are not disputed. Reints turned 70 years old in March 2014. As of that time, he had owned and resided in a single-family home in Pennington County for three years, including at least eight months in 2013. Reints lived alone and had a household income of less than $16, 000 in 2013.

[¶3.] In January 2014, prior to turning 70, Reints applied to the County for a prohibition on the collection of real property taxes on his dwelling. The County denied Reints's request because he had not turned 70 prior to January 1, 2014. Reints appealed to the Department, which determined that the prohibition does not apply to taxes assessed prior to the year in which the applicant reaches 70 years of age. Consequently, the Department determined Reints was not entitled to a prohibition on the collection of real property taxes assessed on his home in 2013.

[¶4.] Reints appealed to the circuit court, which affirmed the Department's decision. Reints now appeals to this Court, raising the following issues[1]:

1. Whether a prohibition on the collection of real property taxes granted under SDCL chapter 43-31 prevents the collection of all such taxes or only a specific assessment year's tax liability.
2. Whether Reints's application met the statutory criteria for receiving a prohibition on the collection of ...

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