BLG Prevails in Critical Affordable Housing Case Before the Georgia Supreme Court
Barnes Law Group secured a unanimous victory before the Georgia Supreme Court in a case that will positively impact the availability of affordable housing throughout the state of Georgia. In Heron Lake II Apartments, LP et al. v. Lowndes County Board of Tax Assessors, BLG represented a group of 8 partnerships who operate affordable housing apartment complexes built with the assistance of federal tax credits. At issue was the ad valorem tax treatment of the federal tax credits. The Lowndes County Board of Assessors sought to appraise the tax credits as if they were the dollar-for-dollar equivalent of rental income, and argued that a recently passed Georgia statute which would have limited their approach was unconstitutional because it violated Georgia’s taxation uniformity clause. Had the County been successful, it likely would have pushed many of the partnerships that operate affordable housing complexes across the state into unprofitability and reduced the construction of new affordable housing units. BLG successfully argued that the tax credits should not be treated the same as more traditional income sources like rent and that the Georgia statute limiting the application of certain appraisal approaches to the tax credits was a proper exercise of the General Assembly’s policymaking authority. Roy Barnes argued the case and John Bartholomew was on the briefs.