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Aug 13

NACo's 2013-2014 Annual Report

Posted on August 13, 2014 at 3:15 PM by Mindy Linn

To access NACO's 2013-2014 Annual Report Please click HERE. 
Jul 03

What is the Board of Tax Appeals?

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 10:23 AM by Mindy Linn

Written By Travis VanLith
Board of Tax Appeals

Many Idahoans have not heard of the Board of Tax Appeals (the Board).  Those involved in assessment and taxation matters, on the other hand, are likely aware of the Board.   But even those who know of the Board may not fully understand what it is and more importantly, why it exists.  The goal of this narrative is to clear up some of those questions and provide a more complete picture of the Board.

The Idaho Legislature established the Board of Tax Appeals in 1969 for the purpose of providing Idaho taxpayers with an independent, low-cost review of most local and state tax assessment decisions.  The Board consists of three members who are appointed by the governor to serve in staggered three-year terms.  Board members typically come from diverse political, geographical, and professional backgrounds.  This diversity is a key element in the Board’s ability to evaluate tax appeals from an independent perspective.   The current Board consists of Chairman David Kinghorn, from eastern Idaho, Linda Pike from northern Idaho, and Leland (Lee) Heinrich from southwest Idaho.      

Board appointments are not intended to be full-time positions.  The Board of Tax Appeals, however, is a full-time agency located in Boise, which operates year-round.  To keep the agency running throughout the year, the Board is supported by a Director/Clerk to the Board, and four full-time staff members; including two hearing officers who assist the Board in hearing appeals.  

Aimed at the key objective of providing a low-cost tax appeal option, the Board does not charge fees to applicants filing an appeal.   In-person hearings are typically scheduled in the county wherein the property is situated for ad valorem appeals.  This prevents county personnel and taxpayers from having to incur travel expenses to attend a hearing in Boise.  In limited instances the Board may conduct a hearing via telephone rather than in person.

The Board is empowered to hear most valuation or tax-related disputes.  The most common matters brought to the Board are ad valorem appeals, which are challenges concerning taxable property valuations.  Also included in this class of appeals are property tax exemption appeals.  The remainder of the Board’s docket is typically filled with income tax, and sales and use tax appeals.  The varying appeal types further underscore the importance of having a diverse Board, with different professional backgrounds.

A number of parties can appeal to the Board after a final decision is issued by a taxing authority.  This includes not only taxpayers, but also the county assessor, in the case of a decision made by the county board of equalization.  There are specific timeframes during which appeals to the Board can be made.  Generally, ad valorem appeals must be filed with the county auditor (clerk) within 30 days of a decision of the county board of equalization.  Appeal deadlines are provided in Idaho Code §§ 63-511 and 63-3049.  Once an appeal is filed, Idaho Code § 63-511(2) allows 30 days for the county auditor to transmit all appeals and accompanying evidence to the Board.  From that point forward, all notices and intervening matters, including hearing dates and times, are managed by the Board until a final decision is issued.

The Board, however, is not the only avenue for appellate review.  Nor does the Board necessarily represent the last step in the appeal process.  Following a decision by a taxing authority, either party can chose to file an appeal directly with the district court rather than with the Board.  Likewise, all final decisions and orders of the Board are appealable to district court.  Filing fees, however, are required to pursue a matter in district court.  Generally an appeal to district court must be filed within 28 days of a final decision or order of the Board, or within 30 days following a decision of the county board of equalization.

Hopefully the above narrative provides a better understanding of the general workings of the Board.  More information about the Board, as well as appeal forms and instructions are available on the Board’s website -  The same information and resources can also be requested by phone (208-334-3354) or in writing to 3380 Americana Terrace, Suite 110, Boise, Idaho 83706.  If you are interested in observing a hearing of the Board of Tax Appeals, please contact the Boise office either by phone or mail for scheduling information.  

Jul 29

Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank, WIR Representative, NACo Annual Conference Report

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM by Mindy Linn

NACo Annual Conference Reported by 

WIR Representative Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank

On what he saw and heard during the conference

Friday July 11th

The Western Interstate Region Board met today with President Lesley Robinson from Phillips County Montana presiding.

Topics discussed.

How the Public Land Trust fund can be used for various reasons. More discussion will be held at the October Board meeting after all review the by-laws.

WIR Financials are in good order and they were approved.

Legislative report by Tom Wolfe with NACo, items included Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) all of which either have expired or are soon to be expired. There seems to be some interest by congress to do short term (one year) reauthorization of PILT and possibly SRS though nothing definite.

If no action is taken then SRS reverts back to 25% receipts which for Idaho would mean an estimated 90% cut in funding. PILT would go back to appropriations which is anyone’s guess.

Reports were given by sub-committees on Wild Horses and Burros, PILT, SRS and LWCF primarily with looking at the PILT formula and ESA reform.

Senator Mary Landrieu spoke to the board on efforts and the importance of PILT/SRS and how it could possibly be funded long term from Oil and Gas Leases in the Gulf. Approximately 9 Billion is received each year that some is returned to the states in the Gulf. Senator Landrieu is working with Oregon Senator Wyden to find solutions to the issue of PILT and SRS.

The LWCF has never been funded to 100% if this were done then possibly some funding could be used for PILT. 

I was able to remind the Senator that if we could do active management on our National Forests the SRS funding would be taken care of.

Randy Phillips the Forest Service liaison reported on basically the same items mentioned above. 

Cynthia Moses-Nedd the BLM liaison reported that PILT needs to pay its own way as this is the Federal Government’s attempt to pay taxes on Public Lands. She also mentioned that the Native Plant Committee has been restarted to discuss the invasive plants that are on the rangelands. A Solar Project in the Dry Lakes area has been approved to move forward. This is a solar project on Public Lands.

Our next WIR Board meeting will be in Malta, Montana in October.

Saturday July 12th

The NACo Transportation Committee met today with discussion on the following.

Streamline the Federal oversight on projects less than 5 million in cost. Quite often the Federal regulations drive the cost and timeline resulting in added cost to the project.

Long term funding for transportation is needed so projects can be planned for.

Report on how Hurricane Katrina changed New Orleans and how they have now a better plan on future events that may happen.

Detroit has a new Rail Streetcar project that has helped the city recover from the downturn in economy. This project created a renewed use of their downtown core.

Potential bundling of bridge or road projects to help drive down the cost of each project standing on its own.

How Los Angeles utilized TIFIA funding to create and run their Metro Transit for light rail transit.

MAP 21 and Transportation funding are a high priority to be done. If not then many projects will be stalled that have already been approved as no funding will be available.

Several resolutions were reviewed for funding National Parks in the event of another government shutdown and funding to the Forest Service to maintain roads that provide access to the public lands.

Sunday July 13th

I attended the Breakfast meeting for Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, North and South Dakota. This is a great opportunity for the folks to network and be around folks with similar issues as we are all primarily rural. 

I then attended a meeting of the sub-committee working on ESA reform to discuss topics from the prior days and moving forward with what to work on or from. Items discussed were local involvement of decisions, what species are in each state as not all states have the same species and trespass laws.  As this is a work in progress no final details are available at this time.  

Then I sat in on the Rural Action Caucus meeting to hear about economic development in other areas. 

A Bicycle/Pedestrian guidebook is being prepared for pathways.

Alamosa Colorado has an unmanned spacecraft manufacturing business.

Other areas are expanding higher education to expand their workforce education.

Some counties are providing 75% tax relief for 5 years to encourage new business if the business stops prior to the 5 year term they must pay all back taxes at 100%.

Pre-approval of development areas for commercial development is used in some areas so the initial permitting has been completed.

The lack of Broadband Infrastructure still hampers rural areas to expand.

Then I attended portions of the NACo Board meeting where all resolutions from all the affiliated committees were heard either in a block or called out for special consideration to be voted on by the NACo Board prior to the full membership voting on the resolutions.

The evening was spent at the National Association of Republican County Officials business meeting and then a reception following where we heard from Louisiana Senator Guilleroy. The Senator spoke on getting back to spending wisely and within our means.

Monday July 14th

Today I started with attending the NACo Legislative Update session. Here we heard from most of the NACo, staff that assist, with the various committees.

The election year is stalling many bills.

Tax Reform ending in 2014 doesn’t appear to be happening.

Market Place Fairness act (internet sales tax).

Possible short term funding for Transportation, 9-10 months.

Transit Trust will be in trouble by December.

Map 21 expires in September however funding not their past July 2014.

No raise in fuel taxes in 20 years, something will need to be done.

EPA is working with creating more regulations

Waters of the US and how it impact counties, Navigable water added canals and ditches which then impacts safety for the roads when drainage can’t be maintained.

Counties need to comment for EPA to know their impacts.

Flood Insurance with new maps coming out soon, FEMA redoing maps.

PILT and SRS hampered by elections, NACo remains committed as no one else works on PILT but the counties.

HB 1526 by Doc Hastings is a step in the right direction for management.

The August recess will provide you the opportunity to discuss with your congressional offices as they travel in their district to campaign.

The NACo Business meeting was next where the resolutions were discussed, amended and passed to move forward as part of NACo policy. Additionally some Platform changes were approved as well. 

NACo By-laws had 10 changes that will move forward as well.

Brian Desloge from Florida was elected to be the new NACo 2nd Vice President.

The ending general session was the installation of officers, another speaking by Senator Landrieu, the Mayor of New Orleans, and a presentation by North Carolina for next year’s annual conference and finishing with Comedian Frank Caliendo who had us laughing to take some of the stress of the last few days away.

The final evening reception was held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome home to the New Orleans Saints. Every Parish in Louisiana was there to show off their food and wares from their region, a band was playing Jazz as we entered and another band was playing inside the Superdome. Topping the evening off was a parade of floats similar to Mardi Gras with many NACo Board members aboard throwing beads to the rest of us.

What another great event with many Idaho folks attending. I think around 20 or so of us were there so lots of knowledge to share as they come home.

I hope all are having a great summer, busy I am sure as that is the time of the year.

That is the end of my report until next conference.

Thanks to all for allowing me to represent you as the WIR representative.