State awarded property tax settlement
After 7 years of appeals, the state of Montana is awarded nearly $16 million in a settlement between the Department of Revenue and Puget Sound Energy.
Business and Income Taxes Administrator, Gene Walborn says, the Department of Revenue and Puget Sound Energy have finally come to an agreement regarding property taxes and the $500 million appraised land value Puget Sound Energy uses in Montana.
"They believe that we had the property overvalued, based on that, they appealed our property. Our market value to determination that began in 2005 and essentially went through 2012.”
During the appeals process, Walborn says Puget Sound Energy doled out more than $66 million in taxes-- which was the full amount owed to Montana before the settlement -- but a $22 million portion was frozen in a protest account, unable to be spent until the parties reached an agreement. After settling, nearly $16 million of the protest account was given to Montana and the other $6 million was refunded to Puget Sound Energy. Walborn says he is glad they could finally agree.
"It's good to have it over, it's good for Montana. I think it's good for schools, it's good for local government, it's good for the state to have it finally resolved.”
A spokesman for Puget Sound Energy says, "It's a good settlement for the company and for its consumers, and the settlement provides certainty for the future and resolves several years of disputes." The money will be spilt between 19 different counties. Lewis and Clark County will receive more than $36,000.
The department and PSE also agreed on a market value for 2013 to prevent a protest for this year's taxes.
Story by Kelley Smith, Beartooth NBC.
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