Bill Lee chaired a discussion of recommendations from the Utah County Attorney’s Office on property tax payment agreement requests, refunds, reductions or deferrals during the Utah County Commission session on Wednesday.
While the agenda item contained 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.
Prime Time Real Estate property owner Bret Clark applied for a reassessment of his property tax owed. According to the attached document, Clark requested an adjustment to the taxes due and a reduction in all interest and penalties. He also claimed he had not received any notice of taxes owed.
According to the document, Clark’s taxes for 2009-2017 were declared uncollectible.
“My questions about that revolve around the fact that we wrote off some taxes on it 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 it.”
A representative from the appraisal office said she checked the account this morning.
“I checked with the city of Orem and they don’t know that there is a virtual office at that location. This business is currently operating without a license. It seems like he’s moving from place to place. Our records don’t show any returns, so I’m not exactly sure what accounted for the reduction from previous years. To the best of our knowledge and belief, all mail has been received.”
The prosecutor’s recommendation was to deny the application because it was an evaluation issue that was not addressed in a timely manner. All three commissioners agreed with the recommendation.
Jordan Ballam, a Revere Health representative, found that the submitted equipment list for tax year 2020 contained duplicate assets, resulting in a duplicate tax amount, according to the agenda. His request included evidence and calculations of the duplicates in hopes of recovering approximately $142,000 in overpaid taxes.
The assessor’s representative said she was only informed in December 2021 that an error had occurred in the 2020 filing. Lee interjected to clarify that it was not a district mistake, but a mistake on the business side.
Lee suggested that the other commissioners grant a refund of the amount requested, and they agreed.
According to the agenda item, property taxes and Greenbelt rollback taxes owed on a property — which was part of a lawsuit to determine the boundary on the lake floor of Utah Lake — were discussed with owners Keith and Joni Holdaway.
The property owners offered $4,600 in settlement of the overdue tax balance. However, Adam Beck, an assistant prosecutor for Utah County, told the commissioners it was his recommendation to deny the request and have the package owners pay the full, undisclosed amount.
The last issue was about property owners John and Christina Bezzant who, according to the agenda document, were in arrears with paying their property taxes for not being in county from October 2021 to January 2022.
The document states that property taxes, penalties and interest were paid in full as of May 6 this year and that the owners are requesting a reduction and refund of the penalties and interest paid with a determination of the best human interest.
It was the prosecution’s recommendation that the application be denied, as no legal or factual basis for granting the application was demonstrated. While Lee said he understood they were leaving the country, he couldn’t excuse the time between their return and paying back taxes.
Commissioner Tom Sakievich asked Lee how he came to his decision.
Lee responded that he didn’t mind paying back the penalties and interest from the time the owners left the country, but not the extra three months it took them to pay off the debt.
Sakievich disagreed, believing that landowners should be responsible for paying the full amount. He realized there was a death in the family but didn’t understand why the property owners had been gone for so long.
Jeanne Bowen, a Treasurer’s Office representative, 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 a long time to help them.
After listening to Bowen, all commissioners agreed that property owners would be reimbursed for the three months they were absent.