Bill that could address Twin Lakes equalized assessed value error passes committee

Samantha Kerkman

A bill that would address an error in Twin Lakes equalized assessed value has passed an Assembly committee.

The Assembly Ways and Means Committee passed AB 273 Thursday,clearing the way for action by the full Assembly when the legislature reconvenes later this month for its fall floor period.

The bill, authored by state Rep. Samantha Kerkman, seeks to address an error in Twin Lake’s equalized value by modifying a loan program currently in place.

“When local officials alerted me to the error, I knew we needed to act as quickly as possible,” said Kerkman, “Even under ordinary circumstances, property tax increases are hard to swallow. Receiving a tax bill that includes a significant increase as the result of an error would be a bitter pill to swallow.”

Currently if an arithmetic or clerical-type error results in a 10 percent or higher increase over the previous year’s equalized value, the Department of Revenue makes a payment to the taxation district and the district then provides loans to individual taxpayers who paid more than they should have because of the error. Rep. Kerkman’s bill holds individual property taxpayers harmless by lowering the overvaluation threshold to 7.5 percent and providing that if property tax bills have not already been sent to property owners, the taxation district uses the DOR payment to offset the property taxes that would have otherwise been erroneously imposed.

Twin Lakes was overvalued by approximately $70 million and would have resulted in an average property tax increase of greater than $200. Local officials reviewing the equalized values published on Aug. 15 spotted the error and contacted DOR immediately, but DOR does not have the statutory authority to simply change a taxation district’s equalized value after the publication date. Instead, the statutory process provides that the DOR adjusts the value in the subsequent year, balancing an artificially high year with an artificially low one.

“In our current economic climate, waiting to adjust the values in 2012 would be particularly unfair to Twin Lakes residents,” said Kerkman. “I appreciate Revenue working with us to find a more palatable solution.”



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