Thursday, July 14, 2005

Tax revenues increase

By SUE WATSON
Staff Writer

Marshall County’s projected increase in assessed valuation on real and personal property is expected to climb by 3.7 percent this year or by just over $6 million, according to Ronnie Johnson, tax assessor.

He presented some changes in tax assessments and projections based on expected growth to the board of supervisors at the July 5 meeting.

Some sectors are expected to bring in less revenue and others more, he said.

The county is expected to gain $4 million over last year in assessed valuation on real property and increase $1.5 million in personal property assessed valuations. Vehicles, such as cars and trucks, are expected to raise the assessed valuation another $1 million, according to Betty Byrd, tax collector. Assessed value was up for vehicles during the October 2003 to September 2004 fiscal year, she said.

The assessed value of personal and real property is used in the taxation formula to compute what individuals, business or industry will pay in taxes each year on things like land, buildings, homes, vehicles and inventory of equipment and other personal properties.

The formula for assessing timber values, which is derived by Mississippi State University experts, will reduce the value of timber lands and produce less tax revenue, Johnson said. The timber land assessed valuation under the new formula will produce a reduction of about $1 million in timber valuation causing a loss of about $80,000 in revenue to the county, Johnson said.

He said pending legislation before the U.S. Congress, if passed, may cause counties to lose 50 percent of their assessed value on pipelines which would result in a shift of a significant portion of the tax burden to other property owners. Using current average millage rates statewide, the estimated tax dollar shift to property owners statewide will be about $26 million, according to estimates by the State Tax Commission.

Locally, that will produce a reduction in assessed valuation on pipelines in Marshall County by about $500,000, Johnson said.

He said the formula for assessing pipelines has worked for years. “I do not know why they want to change it,” he said.

Proposed changes in the tax formula for pipelines would reduce the assessment ratio from 30 percent to 15 percent, putting pipeline ratios on par with other commercial and industrial property, he said.

The Mississippi legislature has enacted changes in the casual sales tax rate for used vehicles that went into effect July 1, Byrd said. Vehicles 10 years old or newer, but not new cars, are now assessed at 5 percent of state value when ownership is transferred.

Exemptions to this change still hold when a title to a vehicle is transferred from spouse to spouse, parent to child, or grandparent to grandchild, provided the transferer has a registration proving payment of sales tax, Byrd said.

They were assessed at 3 percent, she said.

The state of Mississippi gets all the revenue from this enacted increase in casual sales tax on title transfers, according to Byrd, while the county gets a small commission back from the state for these collections.

Other changes in handling of vanity tags that became effective July 1 will make it easy for taxpayers to get vanity tags delivered to their door within five to seven working days from the time of application for a vanity tag.

“We will just issue decals, no registration plate, the tax payer will affix the decals. The state will mail the vanity tag to the taxpayer.”

Law enforcement has been notified that the receipt for payment by the tax collector’s office will serve as proof of purchase of the vanity tag until the customer’s license plate is delivered.

Johnson said 380 new parcels, an indicator of subdividing of property and of growth, have been created this year. There are 23,046 parcels on the real property rolls as compared to about 15,000 in 1984, he said.

The increase in vehicle registrations means the population is growing, he said.


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