MACo: Make Tax Refund Requirement Feasible For Counties

MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick recently supported legislation (HB 1402) which requires counties to pay refunds resulting from property tax assessment appeals within an established time frame, but sought amendments to make the requirement more feasible. MACo’s amendments sought to extend the amount of time from 21 days to 30 days, and begin counting the days after the county receives notice of the decision from the appeal authority. The bill sponsor, Delegate Herb McMillan, introduced the amendments on MACo’s behalf.

MACo’s testimony states,

Begin Tolling Upon Tax Collector’s Receipt of Notice From Appeal Authority
A number of different government sectors participate in the appeal and refund process: the appeal authority, which may be the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT), a Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board, or the judiciary; the local government property tax collector; and the State, in its role as the state property tax collector. Prior to issuing a refund, the local government must first receive notification of the decision from the appeal authority, then coordinate with the taxpayer and State to verify the amount of state and local property tax due. Local finance offices cannot begin this verification process until they receive the initial notification of the refund owed from the appeal authority. For this reason, MACo respectfully requests that the timeframe begin to toll upon receipt of the decision notice.

Provide 30 Days to Issue Refunds

This would provide counties with a reasonable buffer of an additional week to accommodate for minor delays that can occasionally result from unavoidable occurrences like inclement weather closings, vacations, holidays, understaffing, technology malfunctions, etc. Counties believe that 30 days is a reasonable timeframe to verify the amounts owed with the applicable parties and subsequently issue these payments.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.