Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 30, 2014

State error cuts most Tipton property tax bills in half

Error by state cuts many property tax bills in half

By Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — As many who have received their tax bills can already attest, paying property taxes over the next two years won’t be as much of a burden for residents in Tipton County.

Due to a calculation error by the state regarding how much Local Option Income Tax revenue would be distributed, taxpayers will receive an additional distribution of $754,000 over the next two years. That means many tax bills are being cut in half, Tipton County Auditor Gregg Townsend said.

In 2013, the state was expected to distribute $823,000 to the county for the LOIT, but only calculated one month’s figures instead of a full annual figure for distribution. As a result, the county was only able to distribute $68,000 of LOIT on the 2013 tax bills.

“That’s money that has already been collected from people’s income tax and it’s now being applied to their [property] taxes,” Townsend said.

On average, a home in Tipton County with an assessed value of $75,000 with homestead credit, supplemental homestead credit and a mortgage will pay $192 in property taxes this year, compared to $435 in 2013.

In addition, the state’s Department of Local Government Finance reduced its tax levies for capital projects to zero for both of the county’s school districts, Tipton Community School Corporation and Tri-Central Community Schools, resulting in lower tax bills across the board.

“It’s not a normal tax year because of those anomalies,” Townsend said. “Once those are filtered through the system, 2016 should be a normal tax season.”

Residents in Wildcat Township are experiencing the most tax relief of anyone in the county due to another calculation error from the state.

The township’s levies were reduced to zero, with the exception of its debt service, which was restored by the DLGF, resulting in approximately $12,000 being levied for township taxes. The township tax rate decreased from .1813 in 2013 to .0174 this year.

“They essentially get assistance in three different directions,” he said. “Next year, I anticipate the Wildcat Township levy will be restored. Most likely the schools will have levies in their capital projects fund. There also will be some relief still from the LOIT.”

Tipton County collected $8.45 million in property taxes in the spring of 2013 and $8.57 million in the fall. The county’s net assessed valuation increased from $822 million for 2012 taxes payable in 2013 to $852 million for 2013 taxes payable in 2014.

The first installment of property taxes for residents are due on May 12, while the second installment and any other delinquent payments are due on Nov. 10.

Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, martin.slagter@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @slagterm.