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Board of Tax Appeals misses property tax decision deadline

Board of Tax Appeals misses property tax decision deadline

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
May 6, 2010
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
Author Image
May 6, 2010

The Idaho Board of Tax Appeals missed a May 1 deadline required by state law to report decisions on appeals by property owners about their land values, though the board could finish its work by the end of the month.

“We didn’t meet it,” said director Susan Renfro.  “We’re just working on them and trying to get them out as quickly as we can, and we’ll just continue to do that.”  The three-member Board of Tax appeals, part of the Idaho Department of Revenue and Taxation, received 995 appeals on the tax burden and land values of property as assessed by counties in 2009.  Nearly one of every four appeals, 247 in total, wasn’t decided by the May 1 deadline.

The backlog may leave property owners with higher-than-expected tax bills in the lurch, but it’s unclear what kind of recourse there is.  Renfro said the state law mandating the May 1 deadline doesn’t include a penalty if the board issues an appeal late.  “There’s no repercussion in there,” she said.  Renfro told state lawmakers in February that the board would miss its deadline and told IdahoReporter.com that the decisions could be finished by the end of May.

A high number of appeals and a smaller budget for the board to handle those claims are leading to the delay in property tax appeal decisions.  Claims are up from 929 last year, and have exceeded 800 since 2007.  The three years before that, claims were less than 300.  Renfro speculated that increasing land values, which bump up property taxes, led to more appeals.

The board’s budget, funded entirely by state tax dollars, dropped 5 percent in the current budget, and will go down 11 percent in the next budget year, which begins in July.  The tax appeals board will operate with a budget of $450,800.  Renfro said the board met its reduced budget for the current year in part by laying off an administrative assistant who helped write tax appeals decisions.

State Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, called the board’s budget bare bones, and said the combination of more appeals and less state funding is a double-whammy.

Photo credit: © David R. Frazier Photolibrary, Inc.

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