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Your Taxes at Work -- Against You

Sal Iaquinto (R-Virginia Beach) patroned HB 570 in the 2010 Virginia General Assembly, which “would shift the burden of proof from the taxpayer to the assessor when a taxpayer appeals the assessment of real property or to a circuit court, and would remove the presumption that the assessor’s valuation of real property is correct.”

The bill passed the House of Delegates 86-13 on February 4, but was defeated in the Senate on a party line vote, according to Norm Leahy blogging at Tertium Quids.

Norm also provides a video that shows several local government officials, including an official from the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) for which Arlington County taxpayers pay about $36,000 annually, “lobbying against the interests of taxpayers, or in this case, taxpaying property owners.” The bill has “fiscal implications,” which are spelled out in the Department of Taxation’s 2010 Fiscal Impact Statement:

“This bill would have no impact on state revenues. To the extent that shifting the burden of proof to the locality results in more appeals, this bill may increase the costs to localities of defending local tax appeals. To the extent that shifting the burden of proof to the locality results in more successful appeals, this bill may result in a decrease in local tax revenues.”

Although the shifting of the burden of proof may increase the cost of defending appeals, it’s seems the higher responsibility of the local government should be to correctly assess a taxpayer’s property. Consequently, it was disconcerting to watch local government officials lobbying against the interests of taxpayers.

While visiting the Tertium Quids blog, you can join the Tuesday Morning Group and/or signing up for the TQ Email Updates. And for anyone who believes the claim of the VACo lobbyist that the assessment process is "user-friendly," please contact ACTA.


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