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This article is the first in a two-part series addressing the constitutional implications of acquisition-value real property taxation. Acquisition-value real property taxation systems represent a departure from the traditional practice of taxing real property on its current fair market value. In contrast to traditional systems, which are still employed by the vast majority of states, under acquisition- value taxation a real estate owner's property tax liability is determined by the value of the property when the taxpayer acquired it. In periods of rising real estate prices, such a scheme compels later buyers to shoulder a higher annual tax liability than previous buyers. As a result, there can be great disparities in the tax liabilities of taxpayers owning identical property. These disparities have given rise to a variety of legal challenges. One such challenge asserts that acquisition-value taxation violates the Equal Protection Clause by giving, without sufficient rational basis, preferential treatment to certain taxpayers. This Article explores the equal protection challenge.

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1994 Utah L. Rev. 817 (1994).