Last Day to File Taxes Under Protest

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UPDATE:  Because May 31 was a holiday, you will still be able to pay your second half 2009 taxes under protest on Tuesday, June 1.

There seem to be quite a few Montana ag landowners that think their ag Property Taxes were calculated wrong, and are higher than they should be. If you are one of those, then the Montana Farm Bureau is encouraging you to consider paying the second half of your taxes under protest. 

To do that, it is important that you need to file that protest by May 31. 

This will allow you to participate in the current class-action lawsuit that Farm Bureau and the Montana Taxpayers Association have brought against the Montana Department of Revenue. (see Related Story on this site)  The suit that contends the phase-in process for Property Taxes was inaccurate, which means that means you could then possibly receive a refund on your taxes if the lawsuit is successful

But here is the key:  Taxpayers must pay the second half of their taxes under protest by May 31, 2010, to participate in the lawsuit and receive a refund.

In fact there are three important deadlines for trying to address ag-land tax concerns: 

     • May 31 – for the phase-in appeals;

     • June 7 – for the deadline to file a County Tax Appeal Board (CTAB) for values; and

     • June 30 – to file an AB-26 to get an informal review by the Department of Revenue.


The Montana Farm Bureau Federation and the Montana Taxpayers Association are encouraging property owners to protest taxes as the deadline to pay the second half of 2009 property taxes is looming, and many ag-land owners are trying to figure out if they should protest their Class 3 taxes. 

A Class Action Lawsuit filed by Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Lucas Ranch, and Montana Taxpayers Association against the Montana Department of Revenue regarding improperly phased valuation changes to ag-land taxes, makes it possible for landowners to protest their taxes.

“Phase-in Appeals- Taxpayers experiencing a large jump in Class 3 Ag-Land Property Taxes should consider that a portion of this may be due to an inaccurate phase-in process being used,” notes Nancy Schlepp, national affair director, MFBF. “This is the basis for the Class Action Lawsuit.  There are several decisions to make before deciding how to pay your second half taxes to be an official part of the Class Action Lawsuit.”

Schlepp points out that taxpayers must pay the second half of their taxes under protest by May 31, 2010, to participate in the lawsuit and receive a refund if the lawsuit is successful. “If you did not protest a portion of your taxes in the first half, you have the ability to protest sufficient taxes to cover the entire 2009 tax year changes in the May 31 tax protest.  If you did protest a portion of your taxes in the first half, and are going through the process, only protest the portion affected in the second half for the second half taxes due.”

Schlepp says it may be helpful to indicate on your protest form that you are protesting to be a part of the class action.  Other reasons for protest should be listed as well. 

Taxpayers wishing to challenge their actual values, who did not appeal in 2009, should be aware of the deadlines mentioned above, and that addressing values to correctly reflect use and productivity levels used in formulating their tax amount is extremely important to the tax bill for the entire tax appraisal cycle. 

Questions? Call Nancy Schlepp, MFBF, 406-587-3153 or go to www.mfbf.org  or www.montax.org .

Posted by:  Taylor Brown

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