Tax Appeals Pour Into Utah's Largest Counties

Tax Appeals Pour Into Utah's Largest Counties

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Grab the pitchforks: More than 11,000 property-tax appeals have been filed in Utah's three largest counties as property owners rebel after seeing significant increases in their assessments.

"Something should be done. ... Cap it at some point," said Larry Wilcox of Bountiful, who winced when he got a 47-percent raise.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, the deadline for property-value appeals, 11,426 appeals had been filed in Utah, Salt Lake and Davis counties, up more than 50 percent over 2006. More were trickling in by mail.

On average, Davis County's residential property values increased 19.5 percent, but Bountiful saw the highest increase, 30.5 percent. Even the county assessor, Jim Ivie of Bountiful, appealed.

Salt Lake County's property values are the highest that Assessor Lee Gardner has seen, with an average increase of 22.3 percent over 2006.

The housing market has "cooled somewhat," but the assessments were based on market values in January, Gardner said.

"It's not surprising," Gardner said of the appeals. "That's natural when you see a significant increase in property values. People will look at the value and go, 'Whoa, I need to appeal,' without really seeing if it's indicative of what the market is."

Utah County Assessor Kris Poulson said the number of appeals could have been higher.

The appeals there are "about 2 percent of the taxable parcels we have. That's not extremely bad," Poulson said.

The assessor predicted 10 percent of assessments or less will be incorrect.

The Legislature's Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee has scheduled a public hearing to discuss property taxes Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

------ Information from: Deseret Morning News

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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