In 2016, CNX and Antero Resources each requested a partial exoneration for their oil and gas properties for tax years 2016 and 2017 from the Doddridge County Commission who was sitting as the Board of Assessment and Appeals.
They claimed the oil and gas property appraisals on their wells were too high and requested a decrease of millions of dollars in their property valuations, which would have lowered the taxes they already had paid.
After hearing CNX and Antero’s reasoning for their requests and hearing the State Tax Department’s explanation of law and the numbers they based their assessments on, the County Commission rejected the requests for the property appraisal reductions.
The rejections resulted in CNX and Antero each filing action in Circuit Court at which time the cases were passed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court then passed them to the Business Court.
At this point, the Business Court held a hearing at which the Doddridge County Commission was not represented, and the Courts made a decision which the Doddridge County Commission contested to the Supreme Court..
After the Supreme Court rejected Doddridge Counyt’s appeal, on June 15, 2020, the Business Court made a decision to deny Antero Resource’s request to lower their tax appraisements for years of 2016 and 2017, which was a huge win for Doddridge County.
Earlier, however, on February 28, 2020, as regards the CNX case an “Agreed Final Order – Revaluating Producing Oil and Gas Wells for Ad Valorem Tax Purposes” was signed by all parties. This agreement reduced the CNX appraisement down to $13,683,003, a difference in the appraised value of $3,083,968, with the assessed value (being 60% of appraised value) at ~$1,850,380.
It was said the difference between the two cases was that Antero’s complaint was based on the newer Marcellus wells, whereas CNX’s claim was based on older conventional wells.
According to Doddridge County Assessor David Sponaugle, currently it is unknown what amount of money is to be refunded to CNX by the County agencies since the amount will be based on the tax rate for 2016 and will be computed by the State.
When asked about the CNX decision, Mr. Adam Cheeseman, DC Superintendent of Schools replied: “We are aware that the Business Court entered a final order providing tax relief to Consol Energy, Inc. We are waiting for the State Tax Commissioner to notify us of the exact amount Consol is due. We planned for this tax reimbursement and will be able to pay it without affecting our educational goals.”
According to research, it appears organizations that received the tax funds might be responsible to refund their portion of the 2016 overpayments. The organizations include: Doddridge County Commission (Regular Levy), Doddridge County School Board (School Levy, Excess Levy and Bond), Doddridge County Park, Health Department, Doddridge County Library, and WVU Extension Service.