California man protests property taxes on $59M island estate at Montana's Flathead Lake

HELENA, Mont. – A California real estate investor wants the state of Montana to lower his property tax bill by reducing the assessed value of a home he built on an island in Flathead Lake from $41.8 million to $9.8 million.

The Tax Appeal Board heard arguments last week in the appeal filed by Don Abbey of La Mirada, California, Lee Newspapers of Montana reports.

Abbey built the 24,000-square-foot home on Shelter Island in 2011. The home, guest house and boat house on 24 acres now are listed for sale at $59.5 million.

According to the state, the buildings are worth $41.8 million. That valuation would put the annual property taxes at $367,700.

According to an appraiser hired by Abbey, the buildings should be valued at $9.8 million because the house was “overbuilt” in a way that might not add value from a buyer’s standpoint.

Abbey has been paying taxes under protest since 2012. His proposed valuation would reduce his taxes by at least two-thirds.

Abbey argued appraisers for the state over-valued the property because they compared it to similar properties outside the state, but they did not lower the value after taking into account the property is in Montana.

Attorneys for both sides are supposed to submit final written arguments after which the two-member board will have 90 days to make a decision.


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