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(a) Any property owner or lessee in any district may apply, in the following manner, for an exemption from the special taxes prescribed in this Chapter. On or before April 1 of the application year, the owner or lessee must file with the Department of Transportation an application in the form and containing information the Department requires to determine whether the Department should grant an exemption. If the Department grants an exemption for a particular property, the exemption continues for each successive year unless there is a change in the number of parking spaces or in the floor area, number of employees, or any other factor governing the number of automobile parking spaces required to qualify for continued exemption. The property owner or lessee promptly must notify the Department of any change in qualifying factors. The Department may, no more than once in any 12 month period, require any lessee or owner of exempt property to file an information return to determine whether the property meets the requirements for exemption. The exemption ends if the lessee or owner does not file the information return.
(b) The Department of Transportation must determine whether to grant an exemption according to this Chapter, and must notify the applicant by mail of the determination.
(c) The applicant may, within 30 days after the notice referred to in subsection (b) is mailed, appeal the determination to the appeal tax court for the County by delivering to the appeal tax court a petition stating:
(1) the applicant's name and address;
(2) the name of the owner of the property;
(3) the lessee, if any;
(4) a description of the property;
(5) the zoning classification of the property;
(6) the decision of the Department; and
(7) a brief statement of the grounds of the appeal.
The applicant must deliver a copy of the petition to the Department.
(d) If the applicant does not file a petition within this 30-day period, the determination of the Department becomes final. The Department must forward the decision to the Supervisor of Assessments, who must enter the decision on the assessment records.
(e) The appeal tax court must set a time for hearing a valid appeal and must notify the applicant and the Department of the hearing at least 5 days before the hearing. The applicant, the County, or any other party to the appeal, may, at the party's own expense, transcribe the testimony offered at the hearing. The applicant, the County, or any other party to the appeal may, either before or within 15 days after the decision by the appeal tax court, submit to the appeal tax court a request for rulings on points of law or findings of fact. The court promptly must rule on the points of law or findings of fact.
(f) The decision of the appeal tax court after the hearing must be in writing and signed by a majority of the court. The court promptly must mail a copy of the decision to the applicant and to the Director of the Department.
(g) Any person, including the County, aggrieved by the decision of the appeal tax court may appeal the same within thirty (30) days of the date thereof to the circuit court for the County, on questions of law only.
(h) Any such appeal may be taken by filing with the clerk of the circuit court a petition setting forth the decision of the appeal tax court, question or questions of law involved, and that it is brought pursuant to this section. There shall be attached thereto a copy of the petition filed with the appeal tax court. At the same time, or as soon thereafter as available, the appellant shall file a copy of the transcript, if any, of the testimony given before the appeal tax court and any rulings made by the appeal tax court on points of law and finding of fact. On or before taking such appeal the appellant shall mail a copy of the petition filed with the clerk of the circuit court to all persons who were parties to the proceeding before the appeal tax court, to the clerk of the appeal tax court, and except where it is the appellant to the County. The County shall be named as a party defendant in all appeals, except in those taken by the County in which it shall be named as a party plaintiff. Upon receiving a copy of a petition of appeal, the clerk of the appeal tax court shall promptly transmit to the clerk of the circuit court a true copy of all papers filed with the appeal tax court in the proceeding which is the subject of the appeal.
(i) If the circuit court shall find that the record of the proceeding is insufficient to determine the question of law presented, it may dismiss the appeal or remand the case to the appeal tax court for the purpose of receiving further evidence.
(j) There shall be a further right of appeal to the court of appeals from any decision of the circuit court, which shall be treated in the same manner as are appeals from the circuit courts in ordinary cases at law.
(k) In addition to requiring returns as provided in subsection (a), the Department is authorized from time to time to examine exempt property and to terminate such exemption if the requirements are not being met. Denial or termination of an exemption may be made by the Department, subject to appeal as above provided, at any time. In the event that such termination occurs between May 1 and September 30, the property shall be subject to the taxation in such year at three-fourths of the parking tax in effect in such district; and in the event the termination of exemption occurs between October 1 and December 31 in any year, the property shall be subject to taxation in such year at one-half of the parking tax in effect in such district. (Mont. Co. Code 1965, § 44-15; 1973 L.M.C., ch. 25, § 8; 1996 L.M.C., ch. 4, § 1; 2008 L.M.C., ch. 5, § 1; 2014 L.M.C., ch. 38 , § 1.)
Editor’s note—2014 L.M.C., ch. 38, § 2, states, in part: This Act takes effect when it becomes law and expires on July 1, 2015.
2008 L.M.C., ch. 5 , § 3, states: Sec. 3. Any regulation in effect when this Act takes effect that implements a function transferred to another Department or Office under Section 1 of this Act continues in effect, but any reference in any regulation to the Department from which the function was transferred must be treated as referring to the Department to which the function is transferred. The transfer of a function under this Act does not affect any right of a party to any legal proceeding begun before this Act took effect.