Like the rest of the state, most Utah County residents will see taxes increase as a result of action taken this week by the Legislature. But most residents don't know which taxes will increase and by how much.
And, according to Utah County Assessor Ronald Smith, most don't know that the legislation will result in a tax decrease for some."Most people don't know the impact this will have on their properties in 1991," Smith said.
Smith said those who will see the highest increase are commercial-property owners. Homeowners will only see a slight increase, because even though their valuations will increase the tax rate will decrease.
Those who will see a tax decrease are state-assessed businesses - including mining companies, utilities, railroads and companies that cross county lines - and agricultural-property owners.
The tax increase is courtesy of a bill passed to help the state recoup revenue it will lose because of a Utah Supreme Court ruling. The court ruled that AMAX Magnesium had been unfairly taxed by the state.
Lawmakers had to take action because of pending cases similar to the AMAX litigation. Had the Legislature not acted, the state would have faced making about a $56 million tax refund to all state-assessed businesses.
For Utah County, that would have meant a cut in services or imposing a additional tax levy to make up about $474,000.
The legislation removes a 20 percent reduction in valuations on homes and commercial property that the Legislature approved several years ago - a tax break AMAX and other centrally assessed properties never received.
"It's a pendulum coming back the other direction," Smith said. "However, raising the valuations for some will reduce the tax rate and result in a decrease for others."
The legislation also increases automobile taxes in 1992. Starting next year a 1.7 percent rate will be imposed statewide. Previously the rate varied. In Utah County the rate ranged from 1.2 percent to 1.8 percent.
Smith said it's important that residents know the increases will not mean more money to the county. They will only offset decreases in taxes to centrally assessed properties.
"The idea is to make the increase revenue-neutral for all tax entities. Although the county will receive no more money, some will be paying more taxes because of the shift," he said.
Now that the Legislature has acted, most legislators expect that the pending suits will be dropped.
"I think the Legislature did the best they could do under the circumstances," Smith said.
Who pays what
Tax changes as a result of bill passed to recoup revenue lost through Utah Supreme Court's AMAX ruling:
- Residential property - 1.4 percent increase for Utah County, 1.1 percent state average.
- Motor vehicles - no change in 1991. In 1992, 14.2 percent increase in Utah County, 2.4 percent state average.
- Commercial property and vacant land - 6.9 percent increase for Utah County and 7.3 percent state average.
- Business equipment and vehicles - 8.8 percent decrease, 9 percent state average.
- Centrally assessed property and agriculture - 8.8 percent decrease in Utah County, 6.8 percent state average.