This month's D.C. North sheds light on the issue and makes it sound as though the church will not have to pay taxes as if the re-classification never occurred (check out the article online here). In part, D. C. North reports that:
I don't think the church should benefit from a mistaken re-classification of six of its seven vacant properties. Doing so would be inequitable to every other vacant property owner who received no such erroneous windfall, would take the teeth out of the vacant property tax rate, and could give rise to a slippery slope of allowing taxpayers to benefit from any administrative error (as far as I know, the cause of the error in this case is still unknown). Further, after the church's years and years of redevelopment inaction without facing the vacant tax rate, I can't imagine that development would be hastened by failing to apply the rate in full force.
Nicholas Majett, DCRA’s deputy director, has not clarified whether the church will be charged with the bill, which comes to $150,000, plus interest and penalties. “We’ll do what we do with any property—we make a decision based on evidence submitted,” he said. But Majett isn’t certain that making Shiloh pay is the right thing to do. “I think it’s an egregious act” to charge a retroactive tax bill, he said. “Times are hard for everybody.”