CHS, Inc. v. Montana State Dept. of Revenue

CHS, Inc. v. Montana State Dept. of Revenue, 2013 MT 100 (April 16, 2013) (5-0) (McGrath, C.J.)

Issue: (1) Whether CHS’s challenge to DOR’s assessment methods may be brought as a declaratory judgment action in district court without first appealing to an administrative tax appeal board; (2) whether summary judgment was proper for CHS’s claim that DOR failed to equalize its valuation of CHS’s property; and (3) whether DOR’s assessment of CHS’s property was too late for 2009.

Short Answer: (1) No, as the only issues of fact CHS raised went to valuation; (2) yes; and (3) no.


Facts: CHS owns a coking refinery in Laurel and petroleum marketing terminals in Gallatin and Missoula counties. It disagreed with DOR’s assessment of CHR’s property taxes for 2009 and 2010. It paid its taxes under protest and filed this declaratory judgment action as well as appeals with the county tax appeals boards, as allowed by statute. The county tax boards have stayed the proceedings before them pending this proceeding.

Procedural Posture & Holding: DOR moved for summary judgment. The court granted judgment to DOR on all of CHS’s claims, and CHS appeals. The Supreme Court affirms.