Why County?

I don't understand why the accountants continued to direct the family to the County Assessment Office concerning the appraisal after the family sent a professional appraisal to the accountants.

I don't understand:

(1) Why the appraised value of Accotink increased from $75,000 to $300,000 on 3/?/88, and from $300,000 to $600,000 on 3/22/90. I don't understand the reasons for the eight fold increase in two years by the County Assessment Office.

(2) Why the accountants waited to bring up the issue of an appraisal (and the car problem and the unpaid gift tax) until they were in control of the estate.

(3) Why the accountants waited until May 1, 1992, to instruct an innocent family member [Jean Nader] to instruct another family member [Anthony O'Connell] to do an appraisal on Accotink using a County Assessment Office form and an artificially created deadline of June 1, 1992, and then tell the IRS on June 11, 1992, that an extension is needed to file the estate tax return due on June 15, 1992, because of:

"1. The decedent was a part owner of a tract of ground the value of which is to be determined by an appraisal in progress. The enclosed payment is based on the maximum value for the property and will be changed."

(4) Why the accountants continued to direct the family to the County Assessment Office concerning the appraisal after the family [Anthony O'Connell] sent the accountants an professional appraisal on June 9, 1992.


1992.05.12   (Anthony O'Connell to Jean Nader) (Copy to Sheila O'Connell and Edward White)
"I am returning to you the reassessment applications I received yesterday with the June 1, 1992, deadline. I would not touch this with a ten foot pole for fear of Mr. White convincing you to sue me for something. I talked to my zoning attorney this morning. He advised me that asking for a lower assessment would not interfere with future plans for Accotink. The appraiser he recommended estimated the very detailed kind of appraisal that goes to the IRS would cost about $2,000. He could probably have it by the end of the month. I want to solve the problem. Because $2,000.00 is a reasonable figure rather than the $7,000.00 to $7,500.00 for the appraiser recommended by Mr. White {Who would not be available until October of 1992?}, I hired this appraiser and will pay for it out of the trust if necessary. However, it would save the beneficiaries about $800 if it were paid out of the estate because of the estate tax. To me it is not worth a fight. If you would like to solve problems in which you want information from me, please give me a list now so that I can plan for it. Please, no more surprise requirements and deadlines.
Sincerely, Anthony O'Connell "

1992.05.19   (Edward White to Anthony O'Connell, c/o E.A. Prichard, copy to Jean Nader)
"In your letter of May 6 to Jean you asked that I communicate with you with regard to the Harold O'Connell Trust.
I am trying to prepare the estate tax, and as usual in these cases, there are problems trying to understand the flow of debts and income.
I do have a few questions which are put forward simply so that the figures on the Trust's tax returns and accounting will agree with the estate's.
1. The K-1 filed by the Trust for 1991 showed income to your mother of $41,446.00. The Seventh Accounting appears to show a disbursement to her of $40,000.00 plus first half realty taxes paid by the trust for her and thus a disbursal to her of $1794.89. If these two disbursals are added the sum is $41,794.89. This leaves $348.89 which I cannot figure out. It could well be a disbursal of principal and not taxable.
2. The K-1 filed by the Trust showed a payment of $816.00 in interest to the estate. You sent a check in the amount of $1475.97 to the estate. What was the remaining $659.97? Do I have this confused with the tax debt/credit situation which ran from the Third Accounting?
3. On the Seventh Accounting "Income per 7th Account" is shown as $5181.71, but I cannot figure that one out either.
I am of the opinion that the estate owes the trust for the second half real estate taxes from September 15, 1991 through December 31, 1991 in the amount of $1052.35. This is shown on your accounting a disbursed to the heirs. Should this be paid back to the heirs or to the Trust?
I believe that the income received from the savings accounts from September 15 to the date the various banks made their next payment to the Trust (9/30 and 9/21) should be split on a per diem basis, since the Trust terminated on her death. This will be a small amount of course.
Are there any other debts which your Mother owed the Trust?
I realize that Jo Ann Barnes prepared this and if you authorize it I can ask her to help me out.
Please understand that I have no problem with the Accounting, I m just trying to match things up. In the long run, since the beneficiaries are the same, the matter is academic. Please send the bill for the appraisal whenever you receive it. Jean is filing the Fairfax form for re-assessment in her capacity as a co-owner in order to give us a better basis to get this assessment changed and to meet the county's deadline. It will state that the appraisal you have ordered will follow. I think this will be to all of your benefit in the long run.
Sincerely, Edward J. White"

1992.06.03+   (Jean Nader to Anthony O Connell)
"Tony - This came today and I made copies - Have a good day - Love Jean"
(This is on the following letter:
1992.06.03 (Thomas Dittmer, County of Fairfax, to Jean Nader)
"We have received your request for revision of real property assessment on the following property: Map reference 90-4-(111))-17 Legal description Accotink Station
An investiagtion will be made of this assessment bt a representative from this office, and you will be notified of out conclusion in the near future")

1992.06.09   (Anthony O'Connell to Jean Nader, Edward White) (Copies to E. A. Prichard and Sheila O'Connell)
"Enclosed is the appraisal of Accotink, indicating a value of $300,000.00. The cost of the appraisal was $2,000.00 and was paid for by the trust. Jean, thank you for sending me a copy of the reassessment form you sent to Fairfax County. I noticed you used my letters of August 3, 1987, of September 14, 1987, and a tax map to document that Cinder Bed Road is not maintained. This documentation implies Cinder Bed Road is a legal access to Accotink. I thought this also until I received a response to the September letter from the Secretary of Transportation, a copy of which was included in the Accotink file I sent to you. This letter is very significant. It invalidates the documentation. The county road map is incorrect. The tax map showing solid lines for Cinder Bed Road all the way to our parcel is incorrect. Cinder Bed Road stops short of it, something like half a mile short. There is no legal access to Accotink. I think this is a very big factor in applying for reassessment. It is also the sole justification for getting a public road access through the planned development to the east. If we don't get this access, our property will be of little value. Personally, I would recommend that you make it clear to the county that there is at this time no legal access. I do not want to hurt your feelings. I feel you and all concerned should know the situation. I feel how Accotink is managed from here on out will very significantly effect its value. If there is any future correspondence concerning Accotink that you might like me to review, I would be happy to do so. Thank you for the nice letter I received from you today.
Sincerely, Anthony O'Connell"

1992.06.11   (Edward White to Anthony O'Connell, copies to Jean Nader and E.A. Prichard)
'Thank you very much for your letter of June 9 and the appraisal.
I am helping Jean with the county matter and would appreciate your assistance since you certainly have much more expertise in the Accotink affair than anyone else. I agree that we must amplify the material previously sent to the county, and that the letter you enclosed is most pertinent. I had copies you sent me several years ago of the 1987 letters you wrote and received, but did not have the October letter.
Enclosed is a proposed addendum for the county which I wish you would look over, edit and add any comments that you think we should make. I am sure there are many factors that I have missed that you can add and welcome your input.
With regard to the income tax matter and the capital gain from the receipt of principal on the Lynch note in April 1991, I was following the 1990 return and simply did not pick up the fact that there was a principal payment in 1991. I will most certainly pay any interest and penalty which might accrue in this regard, and sincerely appreciate your calling it to my attention.
Again, I appreciate your help.
Sincerely, Edward J. White"

Omitted from the previously submitted appeal was a copy of a letter from the Secretary of Transportation, dated October 13, 1987 in reply to Mr. Anthony O'Connell's letter to her of September 14, 1987 (a copy of which was attached to the appeal).
Mrs. Watts' reply makes quite clear that the county map of Cinderbed Road is in error. The road begins at Newington Road and continues for only 1.0 miles, not 1.5 miles.
The O'Connell tract lies one half mile beyond the end of Cinderbed Road and therefore there is no legal access at all to this property. This is an extremely important factor in justifying a reassessment of the property
In addition, a full appraisal of the property by Thomas E. Reed has just been received setting a fair market value of $300,000.00 on the tract. This appraisal notes that one third of the property lies in a flood plain, that the soil conditions are only rated "fair" for residential development and that the terrain is steep and rugged in places.
Mr. Reed is of the opinion that the only potential of the property would be to combine it with the 245 acre Hunter Tract to the south; He notes that the development of that project is apparently on hold due to economic factors. Attached are extracts of the pertinent part of the report. The entire document is available and a full copy can be delivered to you upon request."

1992.06.25   (Anthony O'Connell to Thomas Dittmer)
"As promised in the previously submitted appeal for reassessment, a detailed professional appraisal of 90-4-001-17 is enclosed. The appraiser, Mr. Thomas E. Reed, places a value of $300,000.00 on the property. The enclosed Fairfax County soil evaluation report states that 49% of parcel 17 is flood plain, 37% of it is marine clay and only the remaining 14% is good for building. It is my personal belief that if I had made this special soil report available to the appraiser, it probably would have justified an assessed value significantly below $300,000.00. The appraiser can be reached at (703) 591-3739. Also enclosed is a copy of an October 13, 1987, letter from the Secretary of Transportation. As you can see, Ms. Watts' states that the present mapping of Cinder Bed Road is in error. Contrary to the present County tax map 90-4, Cinder Bed Road does not extend to parcel 17, but ends .49 miles short of our property. Consequently, there is no legal access to parcel 17. I believe the county tax maps published prior to 1967 will verify this. In short, parcel 17 is legally and functionally landlocked. It is my personal belief that the existing $600,000.00 assessment was, in part, innocently and unknowingly based on this mapping error. If there is any confusion on this point, please call me at (703) 971-2855 and I will provide any information that you might think helpful. Thank you for reconsidering the assessment. I would like to be present at the time of inspection.

1992.06.30   (Edward White to Jean Nader)
"Enclosed are: Virginia and IRS amended 1991 tax returns to be signed and mailed, letters to the IRS and Virginia, checks for each, and gift tax returns for 1989 and 1991 to be to be signed and mailed.
I will pay any interest and penalty which accrues on the amended tax return. The amount reflects the tax on the $125,188.17 principal payment made on the Lynch note in the Spring of 1991.
I never heard from Tony after my letter asking his input on the real estate tax matter. I gather from his letter to Fairfax County that he is taking it over which is fine with me.
Sincerely, Edward J. White"

1992.07.27 (Estimated)   (Jean Nader to Anthony O Connell)
"1. What is the status of the Fairfax County re-assessment matter?
2. Are you handling it?
3. You mentioned that you have brought to the Board's attention the fact that the appraisal did not factor in the marine clay issue. Can the appraiser amend his report to reflect a lower value so that it can be used on the estate tax return.?
5. Since the trust was supposed to terminate on Mother's death, the $2000.00 for the appraisal should be paid to the beneficiaries, not to the trust. The checks from Sheila and me can then be paid back to you.
6. Please send a copy of the appraiser's bill and his notation that it has been paid so that the estate may claim the payment for the appraisal as a deduction.
[Handwritten below]
Dear Tony -
I hope all is well with you -
H1 and I are going to visit Jen and Mike in N.C. this week -
I m looking forward to a good time.
Will you answer the enclosed questions? Either to Ed White or me -
Love Jean"