Lee leads conversation on deferrals for unpaid or late property taxes | News, Sports, Jobs

Connor Richards, Daily Herald file photo

Utah County commissioners, from left, Amelia Powers Gardner, Bill Lee and Tom Sakievich listen during a public meeting in Provo on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

Bill Lee led a discussion on recommendations from the Utah County Attorney’s office on applications for payment agreement, refund, abatement or deferral of property taxes during Wednesday’s Utah County Commission meeting.

While the agenda item had a long list of recommendations, Lee was only interested in four of them — Prime Time Real Estate, Revere Health Central Utah Clinic, Holdaway and Bezzant.

The property owner for Prime Time Real Estate, Bret Clark, requested a reassessment of his owed property tax. According to the attached document, Clark requested an adjustment to taxes due and an abatement of all interests and penalties. He also claimed he has not received any communication regarding taxes being owed.

According to the document, Clark’s taxes for 2009-2017 have been declared as uncollectible.

“My questions on this revolves around the fact that we wrote off some taxes on this from 2009 to 2017 and after that, I’m not sure what happened, but this seems to revolve around a virtual office,” Lee said. “I’m just not quite sure what’s going on with this.”

A representative from the assessor’s office said she reviewed the account this morning.

“I have verified with the city of Orem, and they aren’t aware of any virtual office being located at this location. This business is currently operating without a license. It seems to be that he moves from location to location. Our records show no return mail of any kind, so I’m not exactly sure what constituted the abatement from the years prior. To the best of our ability, all mail has been received.”

The recommendation from the county attorney’s office was to deny the request, due to it being a valuation issue that was not raised in a timely manner. All three commissioners agreed with the recommendation.

Jordan Ballam, a representative of Revere Health, discovered the submitted equipment list for the 2020 tax year included duplicated assets, resulting in a duplicate tax amount, according to agenda. His request included evidence and calculations of the duplications in hopes to receive a refund of approximately $142,000 in excess taxes paid.

The assessor’s representative said she wasn’t notified until December 2021 that there was an error on the 2020 filing. Lee interjected to clarify this wasn’t a county error, but an error on the business side.

Lee suggested to the other commissioners they grant a refund of the requested amount and they agreed.

According to the agenda item document, owed property taxes and greenbelt rollback taxes on a parcel of property — which has been part of litigation to determine the boundary on the lakebed of Utah Lake — was discussed with the owners, Keith and Joni Holdaway.

The parcel owners offered $4,600 as a settlement for the delinquent tax balance. However, Adam Beck, a deputy Utah County Attorney, told the commissioners it was his recommendation to deny the request and have the parcel owners pay the full undisclosed amount.

The last issue discussed property owners John and Christina Bezzant who, according to the agenda item document, were late on paying their property taxes due to being out of the county from October 2021 until January 2022.

The document reads that the property taxes, penalties and interest were paid in full on May 6 of this year, and that the owners request an abatement and refund of penalties and interest paid with a finding of best human interests.

It was the county attorney office’s recommendation to deny the request because no legal or factual basis was shown to grant the request. While saying he was sympathetic to their being out of the country, Lee could not excuse the time between their return and paying the back taxes.

Commissioner Tom Sakievich asked Lee how he came to his decision.

Lee responded that he doesn’t mind repaying the penalties and interest from the time the property owners were out of the country, but not the additional three months it took them to pay what was owed.

Sakievich disagreed and felt the property owners should be responsible for paying the full amount. He recognized there was a death in the family, but didn’t understand why the property owners were gone for so long.

Jeanne Bowen, a representative from the treasurer’s office, said she helped the property owners with their appeal. She informed the commissioners that the property owners knew a family member was dying and stayed for an extended period to help them.

After listening to Bowen, all commissioners agreed the property owners would receive a reimbursement for the three months they were away.


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