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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Delinquent Property Taxes

In today's Standard Examiner is an important Guest Commentary regarding delinquent property taxes. This is important information for all property tax payers.

Gage Froerer has a bill HB 418, which will address this unfair tax collection process in the Utah House under consideration at this moment. We hope this bill will result in an increase of on time tax collections that will benefit all those taxpayers that pay their property taxes on time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Update on HB 246 - Property Tax Exemption

Yesterday HB 246 presented by Representative Gage Froerer that would give residential property owners required by zoning ordinances to have a minimum of 3 acres (in Weber County and up to 6 acres in some other counties in Utah) the same residential property exemption as most of us receive, was defeated in the House. The Standard Examiner ran an article about the defeat today.

The Standard’s article did not mention the vote on the bill. It was defeated by a vote of 33 for, 39 against and 3 absent. Last year, a similar bill did not get out of Committee.

Representative Froerer stated last evening he is going to see if he can get the bill back for reconsideration today.

February 26th, HB 246 is back in business! It has passed out of the house to the Senate.

Stay tuned!

Friday, February 20, 2009

County may access property tax on igloos!

This just in from the Standard Examiner Op Ed. Mr. Nielsen brings up a valid point regarding one of our posts from yesterday. It is short, so we will include it below:

People building igloos in Huntsville should not advertise on the T.V. news! If Weber County hears the story, it will raise their property taxes about $1,800 per igloo!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Fleecing of Utah Proprerty Tax Payers

Blogmeister note: This is one of three important posts today. Make sure you read all three and be sure to weigh in with your pithy comments.

In the last few months the flaws in the property tax collection system has become more apparent:

1.We have determined recently that the interest charged on the delinquent property taxes under the current tax law is simple interest and not compounded interest.

2. It is now clear there are chronic delinquent property tax payers in Utah to the tune of $14 million in Weber County, and well over $100 million dollars statewide, that consistently withhold their property tax payments rather than pay them on November 30th each year.

3. Unless HB 23 (Rep. Hunsaker) passes in this session, the State and counties will continue to collect about $60 million in delinquent taxes annually that are not reflected in each county's certified tax rate throughout the State. This means that the taxpayers never realize the benefit of the collected funds that could lower future property taxes. Simply stated, unless HB 23 passes, the counties will continue to budget as if they have never collected these delinquent taxes.

4. The current penalty and interest for delinquent taxes is not sufficient to encourage large businesses and property owners to pay their taxes on time. The State legislature should approve a significant increase in the penalty and interest, and the interest should be compounded to discourage the use of the tax collection system as a low interest loan.

Most organized groups seem to oppose any change in the property tax laws based on the argument that any change in the tax laws usually will shift the tax burden to someone else in the state. This proposed increase in penalty, interest, and compounding the delinquent interest will ONLY impact those that choose to pay their taxes late. If these delinquent taxpayers pay their property taxes on November 30th along with most Utah citizens, they won't have to pay a dime in penalties or interest.

Utah counties have a tax review committee that reviews appeals, extensions and possible waivers on penalties and interest regarding property taxes. This is done on a case by case basis and should continue. This process protects those that are in financial trouble so they would not lose their property.

The present property tax collection system is favorable to those large delinquent taxpayers who continue to exploit this tax loophole at the expense of the majority of Utah property taxpayers. This is a statewide issue and affects every Utah property taxpayer.

If this sounds like a call to arms, it is. With over $100 million in delinquent propert taxes due State wide, and another $60 million in paid delinquent taxes not part of the accounting process every year, the average Utah taxpayer needs help. They are not getting it from most elected officals at any level in the State. Despite notification to the media in our area and Salt Lake, no major media outlet will touch this story. Seldom will any of us have a chance to influence such a clear cut issue. When you consider how long this process has been going on and what these issues have cost the Utah taxpayers, the urgency of action speaks for itself.

Larry and Sharon Zini

Planning Commission Meeting Tonight

The Ogden Valley Planning Commission Meeting will be held tonight:

5:00 PM

3rd floor conference room by Commission offices

2380 Washington Blvd.
Ogden, UT

You can view the agenda in its entirety by clicking here:

With the downturn in the economy, the planning commission has had some time to work on planning issues. In the past, they have simply been flooded with requests from developers seeking project approval.

Our intel informs us the discussion will revolve around the Gem Committee's recent Park's and Recreation proposals, although the agenda's description is curiously vague.

Once again, another way for the local lumpencitizens to get involved.

31" - 34" of Snow in Less Than 24 hours - A Valley Record?

We finally dug out from the walloping storm of a couple of days ago, got the keyboard dusted off and are ready to shovel through some current Ogden Valley issues. Stay tuned over the next few days as we break it up into bite sized chunks.

Dan Pope of Eyewitness News called the storm the biggest ever in 24 hours for Ogden Valley. He may be right - at least in recent history, which we'll call the last thirty years or so.

The Johnson's of Huntsville were the lead story on the 10 o'clock news whilst building their annual igloo. We all remember last winter - it never stopped snowing, but probably not 30+ inches essentially overnight.

Travel was tough for some and we read that the infamous Powder Mountain road was shut down most of the day and night and resort officials were not happy. Charles Trentelman offers his typically witty play by play analysis here. While the road closes many times each year, imagine what it will be like when (if) Powderville's unfettered development comes to be. Charles touched on the
the single steep road to the resort in today's issue as he discusses the water totals.

We hope you are all relaxing safely by the fire after some hard days of shoveling.

If you snapped some photos of the snow, please send them to and we will post what we can.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Support HB 418 - Everyone should pay their property taxes on time!

Gage Froerer is writing a bill, HB418 to help reduce the amount of property taxes that are NOT paid on time. This bill will increase the penalty and Interest for delinquent taxes only, and could add millions into Weber County’s and other Utah County’s cash flow every year. For the tax year of 2008 in Weber County, the amount is over $9 million in delinquent taxes due last November.

The abuse of the tax loophole is a statewide problem as well, to the tune of over $100 million dollars, so any property tax payer that pay their taxes on Nov. 30th each year should get involved in supporting this bill. The higher penalty and interest will discourage those large landowners and business people who exploit this tax loophole every year. They will be forced to reevaluate the penalty and interest costs and most will pay their property taxes on time.

This also means that even with the increased penalties and interest, NO taxpayers will be affected by this higher penalty and interest at all if they pay their property taxes on time.

We suggest you contact family and friends all over Utah and have them contact their State Legislators in support of this bill, HB418.

Our local legislators are Gage Froerer and Allan Christensen

Larry and Sharon Zini

Thursday, February 12, 2009

HB246 Out of Committee in Legislature

Good news on the bill HB 246 from Gage Froerer. Last year, he could not get this bill out of committee. This would be a big deal for those that were forced by zoning to buy larger lots in Ogden Valley, but could not claim the 45% residential execempton beyond one acre. All residents should consider supporting this bill. If it passes, it may be the first step towards significant property tax reductions in Ogden Valley.

It is time to support the first real opportunity to lower property taxes in a long time. In addition, Gage Froerer is writing a bill on delinquent property taxes as well. If we could get behind that bill HB 418, and get it passed,
most taxpayers will find it worthwhile to pay their taxes on time including the chronic delinquent tax payers.

Larry and Sharon Zini

Editors Note: 2/12/2009 @ 10:50 PM:
While we scooped all of the Print press, the Salt Lake Tribune was not far behind. Be sure to read their related article here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

URGENT MESSAGE - Contact legislators tonight! Then read the Standard Article

We just received this urgent message via email and it warrants IMMEDIATE action:

Hello everyone. Here are the names and emails of those who sit on the
revenue and taxation committee down at the Legislature. Please email and
ask them to approve HB 246 (residential exemption) at tomorrow morning’s
Thank you.

Attached is a copy of the article about it; also, a sample letter.

Also, please contact and pass this on to anyone you know whose home sits on more
than one acre.

It needs to go out this evening (Wednesday). Sorry for the late notice.
We only heard Monday that the hearing on the bill was postponed.

Rep. Sheryl L. Allen -
Rep. Tim M. Cosgrove -
Rep. John Dougall -
Rep. Susan Duckworth -
Rep. Julie Fisher -
Rep. Wayne A. Harper -
Rep. Gregory H. Hughes -
Rep. Erik K. Hutchings -
Rep. Christine A. Johnson -
Rep. Carol Spackman Moss -
Rep. Merlynn T. Newbold -
Rep. Stephen E. Sandstrom -
Rep. Jennifer M. Seelig -
Rep. Evan J. Vickers -

UPDATE 9 PM, 2/11/09

After you have contacted the legislators, be sure to
read the Standard Article about delinquent taxes.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Rip Off of the Average Utah Taxpayer

If you have been following the Ogden Valley Forum posts on delinquent property taxes, you should be aware of the long term misuse of the property tax collection system in Weber County and other Utah counties.

Simply stated, the current property tax collection process used by Weber County and other Utah counties, has provided a tax loophole for some business and developer property owners who choose to use it to avoid paying their yearly property taxes for up to almost 5 years before sale or foreclosure. During this time period of non payment, they are assessed only a 2% penalty and about 6.5% interest. In effect, this a low cost loan courtesy of the County and State (which really means the rest of the taxpayers).

We, the other taxpayers meanwhile provide the money for the State and County services when we pay our property taxes on time every year.

We have contacted our Weber County Commissioners and after much hand wringing on their part, they have investigated and determined there is currently about $14 million in delinquent and uncollected property taxes in Weber County.

In our discussions and correspondence with the Weber County officials and the Utah State Tax Commission, we have received some vague answers on why this tax loophole exists and varied opinions on whether it is a good thing for Utah taxpayers or not.

We feel the best way to address this issue and in order to clear up the confusion and any inaccurate information, would be to list the questions we are most frequently asked and the answers to those questions.

1. Q: State Representative Gage Froerer is proposing a bill in the State Legislature (HB 418) that may increase the delinquent tax penalty (from 2% to 10%) and interest (from 6.5% to 18%) on delinquent taxes. What would that accomplish?

A: The bill will increase significantly the amount of paid taxes into the County and State coffers as of November 30th of each tax year. This will provide more cash flow for services, education and all property tax funded government applications. Most individuals and corporations that use the current system to defer paying their yearly property taxes will quickly realize it will be very difficult to earn a larger return with other investments. These suggested increases are high but lower rates would encourage the same behavior by delinquent taxpayers in the future when other available investments for their money improved.

2. Q: If they raise the penalties and interest, who will be affected, and what about those small property owners that may be struggling with their property taxes?

A: Any increase in the penalty and interest rate will affect ONLY THE DELINQUENT TAXPAYERS! It will not add to current property taxes, and in the long term, the additional funds collected may reduce your taxes or delay the timeframe for future property tax increases.

For those property owners that appeal their tax bills for various reasons, Weber County and most counties have a Tax Review Committee to consider the appeals, grant extensions, and/or waiver requests on property taxes. This Committee functions in Weber County today and should continue to provide the taxpayers an opportunity to be heard on tax related issues on a case by case basis.

3. Q: I have been told that the current collection law has worked well for the counties, State, and the taxpayers, so why change it?

A: With the astounding amount of uncollected and delinquent money involved statewide (in excess of $100 million) and in Weber County ($14 million), during a time when sales tax revenue is down, cutbacks and layoffs are increasing every day within the counties and State, it is not difficult to conclude that any additional significant revenue would be helpful to all government agencies.

4. Q: Can the Utah County governments also enhance their tax collection methods to help reduce the amount of the delinquent and uncollected taxes within their County?

A: Weber County could require the Assessor's office to review the tax records to identify taxpayers that may be illegally claiming the residential tax exemption on more than one property. Weber County could also expand the subdivision ordinance regarding delinquent taxes to deny any further county assistance to a property owner that owes delinquent taxes on ANY parcel of land in Weber County.

It may be helpful to ask our elected leaders: If the current loophole in the law is really a good deal for the taxpayer and governments as some would have us believe, why haven’t our State and County leaders told EVERYONE to use this tax loophole and defer their property tax payments on November 30th each year instead paying on time?

We should be demanding answers from our County and State leaders on this delinquent tax issue. It is daunting to think of how long this collection procedure has provided this tax loophole for the deliberate delinquent taxpayers, and how much has it has cost the other Utah taxpayers over the years?

In addition, any tax collection system that provides a tax advantage for large property owners and businesses to defer property taxes for almost 5 years while most of the other taxpayers are expected to pay their taxes on time is arbitrary and unacceptable.

The final question may be, what are our elected officials going to do about this inequitable property tax collection law? Our County leaders claim this must be solved at the State level, but we feel our County Commissioners can also assist with additional tax collection methods within the County. The County leadership should also be the most prominent voices in Salt Lake urging the legislature and Governor to take immediate remedial action on this issue by increasing the penalty and interest on delinquent property taxes.

We urge you to contact your state and county representatives to right this obvious wrong. We do have the support of the Utah
Taxpayers Association on this issue.

Larry and Sharon Zini

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Our Property Tax Pain---Part Two

As indicated in our last post, we have brought the facts of the unfair application of the Property Tax collection process to the attention of the Weber County Commission. We have also asked Gage Froerer our State Representative and Allen Christensen our State Senator to weigh in.

We have contacted Governor Huntsman’s office and been referred to the Utah State Tax Committee on this matter. We feel it is ironic that the Governor is talking about cutbacks and job layoffs when all this uncollected and delinquent money is out there ($100 Million in Utah, Salt Lake, Davis and Weber Counties alone) waiting to be collected.

We can report that the Weber County Commission is investigating and has found that about $14 million is owed in Weber County in delinquent property taxes as of this date.

Simply stated, the current property tax collection process used by Weber County and other Utah counties, has provided a loophole for some business and developer property owners who choose to use it to avoid paying their yearly property taxes for up to almost 5 years before sale or foreclosure. During this time period of non payment, they are assessed only a 2% penalty and about 6.5% interest. In effect, this a low cost loan courtesy of the County and State (which really means the rest of us taxpayers).

We, the other taxpayers meanwhile provide the money for the State and County services when we pay our property taxes on time every year.

We have suggested to Gage Froerer and Allen Christensen that they sponsor a bill to increase the penalty to 10% and the interest to 18%. (California’s current rates) to encourage these delinquent taxpayers to pay on time, and that change could put millions of dollars back into the tax cash flow for the County and State. This additional influx of usable tax funds could delay new tax increases and in the long term, possibly reduce future property taxes.

This penalty and interest change would ONLY affect delinquent taxpayers and would not change the property tax appeal process or the County Commissioner’s ability to rule on waivers or appeals as they do now.

The intent of this change is to target the elite, mostly large landowners and businesses that exploit this tax loophole to avoid taxes until the last moment and thus place the tax burden on the rest of us.

One final point, if this current collection process is such a good deal for the counties and State as some have said, and the taxes are always paid in the end, why doesn't the Governor and all of our political leaders go before the public and encourage them to use this same tax loophole? If it is a good thing for the large property and business owners, why is it not good enough for the rest of us to defer our property taxes for more than four years?

We remind you that this tax issue affects all Weber County and Utah property taxpayers and we encourage you to write or call our leaders at the County and State levels. As long as this current collection process remains unchanged, you, the on time taxpayers will be paying the upfront tab.

Larry and Sharon Zini

Contact Numbers:
Governor Huntsman: 801-538-1000 or 800-705-2464

Allen Christensen, State Senator:

Gage Froerer, State Representative:

Weber County Commissioners: 801-399-8406