STATE DISALLOWS FLOOD-LEVY REBATES PROPOSED BY TREASURER’S OFFICE

STATE DISALLOWS FLOOD-LEVY REBATES PROPOSED BY TREASURER’S OFFICE

The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department has refused a request by Doña Ana County Treasurer Jim Schoonover to refund over-collected flood levies to thousands of Doña Ana County property owners.

In 2004, then-County Treasurer David Gutierrez announced that about 14,300 parcels of property in Doña Ana County were inadvertently overtaxed and would be credited for the overage on the 2004 tax bills. The credits applied only to the 2004 tax year.

The overtaxes were the result of a software error that calculated the flood levy before a range of possible tax-exemptions were factored into the taxation equation. The software problem was repaired upon its discovery in 2004.

Earlier this year, Schoonover’s office requested authority from the state to refund all overpayments due to the incorrectly calculated flood-levy, going back to when the errant software was activated. But in a Feb. 23 letter to the Doña Ana County Treasurer's Office, Bridget Jackson of the state’s property tax division nixed the plan.

“New Mexico law does not sanction the county’s idea,” Jackson wrote. “The Doña Ana County Treasurer's plan has no support in either the statutes or regulations.”

Schoonover called the development, “deeply disappointing.”

“Although it is not a large amount of money for any one property owner, the fact is that Doña Ana County collected taxes it was not due,” he said. “My intention was to do the work to return the money to the affected property owners. I’m disappointed with the state’s position on this matter.”

The affected properties were all located outside the City of Las Cruces.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229.