Tax listing penalties issued

Nov. 19, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

The Lee County Board of Commissioners issued four late tax listing penalties for as many businesses — including one for more than $25,000 for one local business — during its meeting Monday.

Commissioners denied the appeals after tabling the taxpayers’ requests from their previous meeting.

The board is legally allowed to penalize a taxpayer by 10 percent, if the property is not properly listed during the regular listing period, according to Lee County Tax Administrator Mary Yow. 

Commissioners unanimously approved penalties for Quality Home Health Care, Lee H. Johnston Inc. and RR Automotive Group — $378.12, $84.20 and $82.29 respectively.

The commissioners were split, however, on issuing a penalty of $25,176.54 to Magneti Marelli. Commissioners Amy Dalrymple, Ricky Frazier, Charlie Parks and Kirk Smith voted in favor of issuing the penalty, with Commissioners Andre Knecht, Robert Reives and Jim Womack voting against it.

Motions to lower the penalty to $5,000 and $2,500, by Reives and Womack, respectively, were not approved. 

“I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think that it it is right to be taking $25,000 from a company because of a clerical error,” Womack said. “That’s a person getting laid off.”

Magneti Marelli has received economic development grants, and Smith said it’s a slap in the face of the taxpayers for the company to not file on time.

“We have no one here,” Smith said, referencing the lack of Magneti Marelli representative at the meeting Monday. “We have informed them of their appeal and they don’t have the decency to come down the street.”

Commissioners also considered a set of guidelines for issuing abatements and penalties, but tabled the guidelines until their next meetings. 

The guidelines stated:

* Commissioners may reduce the penalty by 90 percent if the listing is received or postmarked within the first five days following the close of the annual listing perio.

* Commissioners may reduce the penalty by 50 percent if the listing is received or postmarked within the first 30 days following the close of the annual listing period.

* The penalty will not exceed $5,000.

* Any individual or business receiving payments for an economic development grant may be ineligible for a compromise or adjustment.

* Any individual or business entity with a listing filed late in the past five consecutive tax years may be ineligible for a compromise or adjustment.