Thursday, February 26, 2009

Std-Ex Guest Commentary: Loophole For Late Tax Payments Should Be Restricted

A short essay on the inequities of the current Utah property tax collection system

On the heels of a series of web articles addressing the problem of delinquent Utah property taxes, Ogden Valley Forum blogmaster Larry Zini strikes public pay dirt this morning with an excellent Standard-Examiner guest commentary, which lays out the inequities of the current property tax collection system as it is presently practiced in Utah:
Loophole for late tax payments should be restricted
Larry has expended considerable effort during the past few months educating the public and various government officials about the fundamental injustice of the "loophole" which permits various land owners and developers to defer property tax payments for up to five years, while the rest of the lumpencitizens make their tax payments in a timely manner.

As a result of these efforts, Legislative District 8 House Representative Froerer has sponsored House Bill 418, which would increase penalties for property taxes which are paid in an untimely manner. This bill is making progress in the House of Representatives, having passed out of committee on Monday with a favorable 9-4 recommendation. The bill will probably be presented to the full House within the next day or so.

In this connection, we once again provide the Utah House of Representatives contact link, for those readers who'd like to take action and express their opinions to their own house representatives on this important proposed amendment.

As Larry carefully notes in his final two paragraphs by the way, this bill will not penalize property owners who are experiencing genuine financial hardship. This legislation is merely intended to provide additional incentives for wise guy property owners and developers who've up until now taken a nearly free ride on the backs of Utah property owners who pay their own taxes on time.


Anonymous said...

This is a significant bombshell that says a lot about our County leadership. They had to be aware of this "special treatment" loophole for years (they have all been in office over 4 years) and yet, they did nothing to protect their constituents that paid their taxes on time. Another failing of our County leadership is the facts surrounding HB 23 that may pass this year.

HB 23 (Rep Hunsaker) will force the counties to account for the COLLECTED delinquent property taxes for the first time in calculations for the Certified Tax Rate. What this means is the County has received collected delinquent tax money in the past, but they did not have to account for it when preparing their budgets. The result was we all paid higher budgeted taxes and the county was able to use this backdoor money as sort of a slush fund.

RudiZink said...

Thanks for the post, Pete.

Indeed, the problems which are addressed by Rep Hunsaker's HB-23 open a whole new can of worms.

If county officials have omitted delinquent property taxes from Certified Tax Rate calculations over the years, there's no way that this practice can be called anything but a taxpayer ripoff.

Seems to me that our elected County officials have some "splainin'" to do, regardless of whether Rep. Hunsaker's bill eventually becomes law.

Anonymous said...

Rudi, our county officials are not very forthcoming
"splainin" anything. They usually resort to a wall of silence. When they do talk, it is through county employees who are instructed what to say to try to deflect the pressure.

When you think about the whole exposed picture of this tax collection process, it is obvious it is contrived from the getgo by our leadership to provide their favorite charity, the builders and developers an opportunity to ride on the backs of the other taxpayers.

We should provide this information to the Democrats for future use. These county elected officials can be beat up forever on their lack of action to correct this process. I have never heard any county commissioner even apologize for this added tax burden on their constituents.

Anonymous said...

You have to wonder how long has this deception been going on? This HB 23 issue is has huge implications about the competence of our County Commissioners. The County had to be aware of this money coming from the collection of delinquent taxes, and the public was never made aware of this money by any in leadership positions.

It may be time to get these people out of office. The are not acting in the best interest of the County citizens. They just wanted to pad their little fund with this money to do pet projects at the expense of the taxpayers.

UtahTeacher said...

Senator Stephenson's SB 186 will likely pass today and reduce the penalties for late payment of franchise and corporate or individual income taxes by 75%. Big Business strikes again!

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