Huntington County’s Preventable Property Tax Debacle

INDIANA—Due to multiple oversights, five Huntington County properties were overtaxed by more than $90,000 beginning in 2010.  

The most overtaxed property was Our Sunday Visitor, the world’s largest Catholic publisher that paid in excess of $67,000. Life Church, another one of the overtaxed properties, overpaid by $20,586.

To date, $28,000 has been refunded to the two affected properties but it is unclear as to when the remaining $61,561 will be repaid to the other three. The Huntington County Council has the authority to dictate how the situation is handled, if it does choose to vote against returning the overtaxed money, property owners could simply have lost thousands of dollars. On the other hand, should the council vote in favor of the business owners, they may receive an unexpected paycheck.

This Indiana city is certainly not alone in its property tax difficulties.

In an article outlining New York’s property tax inequity, George Sweeting from NYC’s Independent Budget Office said, “It [the property tax system] is so complex…it is impossible for the typical taxpayer to understand how a tax bill was determined. Even those of us who work on it for a living have a hard time following all of the moving pieces.”

If Sweeting, who is engrained in the property tax system, admits the level of complexity involved, it’s no surprise that billing mistakes fall through the cracks and property owners can be none the wiser.

Not surprisingly, Huntington County Auditor Cindy Yeiter is petitioning for new tax software to reduce both the future potential for error as well as calculation times for assessed values and maintenance fees.

This financial nightmare could have been prevented. The debacle underscores the intricacy of the property tax system and the importance of using reliable property tax software.

AppealTrack’s software offers easy access to annual property tax information, which is available on one screen. This is just one of many ways that AppealTrack’s software makes the lives of paralegals, attorneys, and property tax professionals easier.

For more information on AppealTrack’s software and how it can help your office be confident in its property tax information, click here.