Substitute Senate Bill No. 530

Public Act No. 00-186

An Act Concerning The Assessment Of The Personal Property Of Certain Public Service Companies, Requiring The Registration Of Electric Generating Facilities And Exempting Certain Persons Involved With Communications-Related Property Negotiations From The Real Estate Broker Licensing Statutes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. The Department of Public Utility Control, in consultation with the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, shall conduct a study regarding the assessment of personal property of electric distribution companies, gas companies and water companies. Such study shall include an examination of the effects of disparate assessment methodologies on the rates paid by utility customers in this state. Not later than January 1, 2001, the department shall report its findings to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to energy and technology and to finance, revenue and bonding.

Sec. 2. (NEW) Each person, as defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes, operating an electric generating facility in this state shall register with the Department of Public Utility Control. Not later than January 1, 2001, the department shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes to establish standards and procedures for the registration of electric generators pursuant to this section. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any (1) hydroelectric generating facility, or (2) electric generating device (A) with a generating capacity of four megawatts or less, or (B) that is owned and operated by an electric distribution company or gas company, as defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes.

Sec. 3. Section 20-329 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The provisions of this chapter concerning the licensure of real estate brokers and real estate salespersons shall not apply to: (1) Any person who as owner or lessor performs any of the acts enumerated in section 20-311, as amended, with reference to property owned, leased or sought to be acquired or leased by [him] the person, or to [his] the person's regular employees who are employed as on-site residential superintendents or custodians, with respect to the property so owned or leased or sought to be acquired or leased when such acts are performed in the regular course of, or [as an] incident to, the management of such property and the investment therein; (2) any person acting as attorney-in-fact under a duly executed power of attorney from the owner authorizing the final consummation by performance of any contract for the sale, leasing or exchange of real estate, or to service rendered by any attorney-at-law in the performance of [his] the attorney-at-law's duties as such attorney-at-law; (3) a receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, administrator, executor or other fiduciary, while acting as such, or any person selling real estate under order of any court, or to a trustee acting under a trust agreement, deed of trust or will, or the regular salaried employees thereof; (4) witnesses in court as to the values of real estate; (5) persons in the employ of the federal or state government or any political subdivision thereof while acting in the course of such employment; (6) any employee of any nonprofit housing corporation [which] that (A) has been certified as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as from time to time amended, and manages a housing project, or (B) manages a housing project assisted in whole or in part by the federal government pursuant to Section 8 of The United States Housing Act of 1937, as from time to time amended, while such employee is performing duties in the regular course of, or incidental to, the management of such housing project; (7) any person licensed as a broker in accordance with sections 36a-510 to 36a-524, inclusive, as amended, who engages solely in the activities described in subsection (6) of section 36a-510, as amended; (8) any person licensed to maintain or operate a mobile manufactured home park under chapter 412 who performs any of the acts enumerated in section 20-311, as amended, with reference to lots or mobile manufactured homes within the park or to [his] the person's employees with respect to lots or mobile manufactured homes within such park when such acts are performed in the regular course of, or incidental to, the management of such property and the investment therein; [or] (9) persons licensed as sellers of mobile manufactured homes under section 21-67; or (10) any person or such person's regular employee who, as owner, lessor, licensor, manager, representative or agent manages, leases, or licenses space on or in a tower, building or other structure for (A) "personal wireless services facilities" or facilities for "private mobile service" as those terms are defined in 47 USC 332, which facilities shall be unattended, and the installation and maintenance of related devices authorized by the Federal Communications Commission, and ancillary equipment used to operate such devices and equipment shelters therefor, in an area not to exceed three hundred sixty square feet for any one service established by the Federal Communications Commission in 47 CFR, as amended from time to time, by a provider of any such service and (B) any right appropriate to access such facilities and connect or use utilities in connection with such facilities.

Sec. 4. The assessor or board of assessors of Stamford, Hartford, New Haven, Cheshire, Southbury, New London, Mansfield, Windsor, Meriden, Fairfield and Bridgeport may perform an audit or require a designee of the assessor to perform an audit of any personal property required to be declared pursuant to section 12-80a of the general statutes for the October, 1999, grand list. Such audit shall be governed by the provisions of section 5 of this act. The assessor shall give notice in writing to the owner, custodian or other person having knowledge of any such property or the valuation of such property, of the time and place of such audit with respect to such property. Such notice shall be placed in the hands of such person or left at such person's usual place of residence or business or shall be sent to such person by registered or certified mail at the last-known place of residence or business. Such notice shall direct the person named therein to appear before the assessor or board of assessors, or before a designee of said assessor, with books of account, papers, documents and other records for examination under oath relative to any such property or the valuation of such property. The methodology used to determine the assessment of such property to which such audit or audits relate shall be that set forth in section 12-80a of the general statutes.

Sec. 5. (a) Upon completing an audit of property assessed in accordance with section 4 of this act, the assessors or board of assessors shall send written notification to the property owner. Such notice shall identify any property the assessor believes (1) was erroneously included in the return the owner submitted under section 12-80a of the general statutes, (2) was not included in said return, or (3) was included in said return but was not valued in the manner required by section 12-80a of the general statutes. Such notice shall be sent not later than thirty days after such audit is completed and a copy of such notice shall be sent to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.

(b) With respect to property discovered to have been included on a return in error, the secretary shall determine the amount of the tax represented by such property and shall deduct said amount from the tax next certified by the secretary, under section 12-80a of the general statutes, as payable to the municipality to which said amount was paid in error. With respect to any other property, the owner shall be required to submit to the secretary, not later than thirty days after the date of the assessor's notice, an amended return or a written notice refuting the assessor's findings.

(c) (1) An amended return required to be submitted under this section shall reflect the value of any personal property that was not included in the return on which the company's tax was based, as determined in accordance with section 12-80a of the general statutes. If the value of any property included in said return was inaccurate, the amended return shall reflect the correct value of such property. Upon receipt of an amended return submitted pursuant to this section, the secretary shall determine the assessment of property included in such return. Such assessment shall equal seventy per cent of the value of such property plus the penalty calculated in accordance with this subsection. The penalty for property not declared on the return that formed the basis of the company's taxation shall equal twenty-five per cent of such assessment. The penalty for property the value of which was understated on the return that formed the basis of the company's taxation shall equal ten per cent of such assessment. The secretary shall determine the tax due for the assessment of such property, pursuant to section 12-80a of the general statutes, and shall notify the owner to pay the amount due to the municipality not later than thirty days after such notice.

(2) If a property owner elects to refute the assessor's findings with respect to an audit of property that was assessed and taxed under section 12-80a of the general statutes, the owner shall submit a written notice to that effect to the secretary. Such notice shall contain the reasons why the owner believes the assessor's audit findings are incorrect. Not later than sixty days after receiving such notice, the secretary shall notify the property owner and the assessor of the town having conducted the audit, in writing, of the time and place of a hearing. The purpose of such hearing shall be to review the assessor's findings and the property owner's response to such findings. The secretary's decision with respect to such audit findings, including a decision as to whether or not the property owner is required to file an amended return, shall be issued not later than thirty days after the conclusion of the hearing. Any property owner or municipality aggrieved by the secretary's decision may file an appeal with the superior court for the judicial district in which the property is located or was purported to be located.

Sec. 6. On or before January 1, 2001, the assessor or board of assessors of each town specified in section 4 of this act shall submit a report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to finance, revenue and bonding regarding the audit conducted pursuant to section 4 of this act.

Sec. 7. This act shall take effect from its passage, except that sections 2 and 3 shall take effect October 1, 2000.

Approved June 1, 2000