Thursday, October 30, 2014

In a twist, some residents getting wrongly collected tax money back

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 11/22/2013

WILLIAMSBURG — Some residents in southwestern Franklin County are expected to get money back for a library tax they shouldn’t have been paying.

“The cities individually levy taxes for their library based on statute,” Janet Paddock, Franklin County clerk, said. “Any city that maintains a city library can levy a tax and [Williamsburg] voted in 2007 to have a city library, although they didn’t petition to not pay the Northeast Kansas Library System [NEKLS] tax levy until 2010.”

WILLIAMSBURG — Some residents in southwestern Franklin County are expected to get money back for a library tax they shouldn’t have been paying.

“The cities individually levy taxes for their library based on statute,” Janet Paddock, Franklin County clerk, said. “Any city that maintains a city library can levy a tax and [Williamsburg] voted in 2007 to have a city library, although they didn’t petition to not pay the Northeast Kansas Library System [NEKLS] tax levy until 2010.”

In 2010, when the City of Williamsburg decided to not pay the state library system’s tax, Franklin County was never notified and residents of Williamsburg continued being taxed for the state group, Paddock said.

“It should have been conveyed to the county that the city no longer had to pay NEKLS tax because they had levied their own tax through the city,” she said. “It should have went off their tax rolls in 2011, but the county did not know the state had been petitioned to remove Williamsburg from that tax base.”

Two years of the taxes sent to the state group are expected to be refunded to Williamsburg residents, Paddock said, those being the 2011 and 2012 tax years.

“After looking at statutes, we were able to correct statements for this year for 2013,” she said. “Anyone who has paid their taxes already for the 2013 year, the treasurer’s office will refund them right away — if they’ve paid 100 percent of their taxes. If you haven’t paid [taxes] for this year it will be adjusted when you come to pay.”

How soon the county plans to give back the 2011 and 2012 years’ taxes has not yet been decided, Paddock said, but the Franklin County Board of Commissioners likely will decide next week.

“We’re still waiting on guidance about how to refund those two years,” she said.

The amount of the taxes being refunded isn’t sizeable, Paddock said, but it’s still taxes residents shouldn’t have been paying.

“It’s a small amount but it’s taxes they shouldn’t have been paying,” she said. “And if it is enough to draw interest from, they’ll be getting that back too.”

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