Illegal Impact Fees… Where is my refund?
We here at that Idaho Land Law blog love a good case on impact fees. Nothing will delay our book club reading list like an Idaho Supreme Court decision that discusses not only illegal impact fees but also a statute of limitations. In the recent case of White v. Valley County, 320 P.3d 1236 (2014), the Supreme Court of Idaho considered both impact fees and the statute of limitations for claiming a refund of an illegal impact fee.
The White case came to the Supreme Court of Idaho as a certified question from the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho. In White, the Supreme Court of Idaho certified the following question:
When does the limitations period commence for statutory remedies made available under Idaho law to obtain a refund of an illegal county tax?
Answer: The limitations period commences upon payment of the tax.
The Court was not asked to address the accrual date for inverse condemnation claims, which have been addressed in multiple previous decisions (holding that Idaho Code § 5-224 applies with a four year statute of limitations). And the Court expressed no opinion as to the legality of the road development fee at issue. (Maybe sometime in the future we will see a case on road development fees.)
The Court did note that there are two statutory remedies that appear to be available to a taxpayer in the circumstances presented in this case. Idaho Code § 31-1501 applies to general claims asserted against the county (with a one year limitations period from the payment date) and I.C. § 63-1308 applies to property taxes or money paid to a county (with a limitations period of within 60 days from the payment date). Either way, the limitations period commences upon payment of the taxes.