ELKINS - The Randolph County Commission likely will lose about $53,000 from its 2013 budget because of a tax exoneration involving the Carter Roag Coal
The firm's coal mine, which straddles the Randolph-Upshur county line, misreported information on their 2012 tax filings, Randolph County Assessor Phyllis Yokum said.
"They never realized they had to do a return for Randolph County and a return for Upshur County," Yokum said. "Upshur County was concerned because they were not getting any money from the coal mine, as I would be if I were in the same boat."
The situation arose after Chris Michael, an industrial appraiser with the state tax department, notified Yokum that Randolph County's industrial values would be decreasing by several million dollars.
Michael notified the assessor that the portal of the mine is located on the Randolph County side, but a portion of the mine's interior technically is in Upshur County.
"At some point, Carter Roag moved a lot of their machinery and equipment across the county line underground from Randolph to Upshur County," Yokum said. "I then got a call from the Upshur County assessor, saying the 2013 documentation is incorrect, as were the returns, from Carter Roag. This means there is probably going to be an exoneration in Randolph County."
"At first, we thought it was going to be $125,000," Yokum added. "I told Chris Michael that I'm sure my county commission won't look at this unless there is an amended return from Carter Roag supplying the adjusted information. After a few weeks we got that. That is what you have before you today. Part of the equipment and machinery was located in Upshur County on July 1, 2012, so it is an exoneration for the 2013 taxes."
Overall, the county is looking at a shift in taxable value of $3,118,887, with a total exoneration of $52,946.22. Broken down, the county will have to return $311.89 in state taxes and lose $17,765.18 in county funds. The Randolph County Board of Education loses the most at $34,869.15 in regular and excess levy funding.
The company, though, is not requesting a refund of the overpaid taxes, Yokum said.
"In their letter, they actually don't say they want a refund," Yokum noted. "They say they are requesting credit for future years, which we are allowed to do. We don't have to take it all out of this year's taxes. We can do it over a couple years if we so choose."
The Commission did not take immediate action on the issue, instead asking Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker to review the submitted material to ensure it falls within the guidelines of the law.
"You are talking about a substantial amount of money for Randolph County," Commissioner Mike Taylor said. "We have already budgeted that money as have the schools. By the Dec. 5 meeting, we will have something back from Mr. Parker to be sure this is in the proper
In general, industrial tax assessments are done through the state tax department by an industrial appraiser. County assessors do not place values on industrial properties.
"We get those values from the state," Yokum said. "They (the state) get the values from the actual producers, which in this case, would be Carter Roag. It is the assessor's job to link those values from the appraisal system to the tax tickets."
Contact Matthew Burdette at 304-636-2121, ext. 120 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at IMT_Burdette.