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Whitehead forges homebuilder solution 

BATON ROUGE, LA – The Whitehead Law Firm sharpened a gray area in Louisiana property law by providing legal advice to lawmakers and tax assessors during the 2010 state legislative session.

House Bill 1471, authored by state Rep. Hunter Greene, approached the tricky situation of how taxes are applied to new speculative homes that have yet to be occupied.

Working with Greene, homebuilders and assessors, Jack Whitehead forged a legal solution that enables government to recognize mitigating factors in the valuation of a new never-occupied home.

Assessors are now required to consider the estimated holding time needed to sell the property, expenses incurred during the holding period, and financing and economic risks associated with the holding period, to determine the fair market value. Before, assessors could choose one of several approaches for determining market value, at their discretion.

“The change in ad valorem tax law helped homebuilders and their respective assessors understand the complexity and the uniqueness of homes built for speculation,” Whitehead said.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed the new bill into law in July, 2010.

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