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Front Page » January 5, 2010 » Carbon County News » Board of Equalization key to tax disputes in county
Published 1,781 days ago

Board of Equalization key to tax disputes in county


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By MICHAEL OVERSON
Sun Advocate reporter

The county tax roll has to be completed and turned into the state by May 22 every year. In May 2010, the tax roll will be closed and taxes will be levied according to those figures. Property owners will receive letters with their taxes listed in those letters. If there is a disagreement, property owners can and are encouraged to attend a meeting with the Board of Equalization. This board meets with the?purpose of letting the public resolve issues and gain knowledge about the tax system.

Last year, water district parcels had an increase of 25 percent to their taxes. Those who are affected own property or live in areas outside of incorporated towns or cities that are still located within county boundaries. In addition to taxes that all property owners pay, those in unincorporated areas also pay a tax that goes towards the collection of said taxes and to the salaries of county employees.

All state assessors are required to be licensed by the state, but the Carbon assessor's employees have gone further with their training and also have become certified through the state. Carbon County Assessor?Nancy Ferderber also noted that, within the past 10 years, the general public has become more knowledgeable about the taxes they pay and where their money goes. The inner workings of most governmental agencies are not known to the public unless they do research into the subject. Ferderber is pleased with the community's interest in having a better understanding of what goes on with their money. This makes her job easier when there are disputes, because other sources of information that the county may not have available can also be considered.

Last Tuesday night, at the county commissioners' meeting, two issues with taxation were addressed.

The first issue involved a property owner who was in disagreement over the need to pay tax on an unfinished building. Taxation does not begin when buildings are finished, but is continually accumulating. Some do not understand that assessors evaluate what is on the property, not if it is being used or not. ?????????????

The second problem presented at the commission meeting involved a commercial property that has delinquent taxes owed.?While the responsibility to pay belongs to the owner of the property, the company that was being discussed at the meeting is currently changing hands and the new owners are being expected to pay. Back taxes follow the property and buyers assume all liability. Title searches are a good tool to find out if a particular property has back taxes owed or liens against it. It is a good idea for potential buyers to check on taxes that may be owed before entering into any kind of agreements. In addition, unless an accurate appraisal of the property is done, the value can be dramatically overstated. In the case of the issue before the commission the building in question has been valued at around $1,000,000. However the buyers dispute that it is worth that much and want another appraisal to be done. Both parties in tax dispute claimed they had not been receiving the tax notices, so they did not know what was going on. However the law states that the time has passed for them to dispute the past year's assessment and that has become a complication.

The Board of Equalization is of key importance in resolving tax problems since more than one agency is involved with the tax system. The main purpose of the board is to discuss whether or not property value is correct. Any problems that a property owner feels he or she has with tax assessment must first be addressed at the local level, and in this case that is the Board of Equalization.

If the issues of specific cases are not resolved and further appeals are requested, then the problem can be taken to the state tax commission. Property values can be readdressed each year. Only with increased public knowledge and accountability can people understand the many issues associated with the process of assessment and evaluation of property.

Historically, property tax has been used foremost to help fund county schools and fix roads. Other governmental agencies are also involved in getting some part of property taxes.

Carbon County's budget is posted online and people can view it to see where property taxes that go to the county are expended.

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