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California Supreme Court issues two separate cases addressing taxpayer standing

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On June 5, 2017, the California Supreme Court issued two separate rulings regarding taxpayer standing to file litigation challenging government expenditures or property tax assessments. In Weatherford v. City of San Rafael, the Supreme Court held that individuals are not required to be subject to or pay property taxes in order to have standing to challenge localities for illegitimate spending. In Williams & Fickett v. County of Fresno, the Supreme Court ruled that taxpayers prospectively will not be able to bypass a county’s assessment appeals process when requesting refunds on property taxes related to property they do not own. The Court remanded the case in Weatherford because it disagreed with the lower courts’ interpretation of statutory language, and overruled a long-standing decision in Williams & Fickett that had been “overtaken by intervening developments in the law.”