Disgruntled about a decision by the Utah State Tax Commission to lower sales tax liabilities of the Intermountain Power Agency, Millard County has requested a review of the commission's decision by the Utah Supreme Court. The county has the backing of the Utah Association of Counties.
The issue revolves around 1983-1985 sales taxes, which the tax commission cut from $21 million to about $6.8 million. The initial amount was determined by an audit conducted by the commission's sales and use tax audit division on the equipment and material installed at the Intermountain Power Plant, according to Bill Peters, an attorney for the Utah Association of Counties who is representing Millard County in the case.The plant is managed by the Intermountain Power Agency.
The initial tax liability and penalties were challenged by IPA. Then Millard County was informed it could not intervene in the proceeding six months after the commission decided to lower the tax liability, Peters said.
The county appealed to the Utah Supreme Court and then filed a second appeal about a year later when it was learned that a "compromise" had been reached. IPA officials refute the "compromise" term used by Peters. The agency's attorney, Mark Buchi, claims the tax amount is instead a disparity, identified in part by millions of dollars that had already been paid or credit for taxes paid by third parties.
Meanwhile, Leon Dever, assistant Utah attorney general, opined that the issue of whether the county should be allowed to intervene is a question the state Legislature should answer.
The giant plant, located north of Delta, accounts for about 85 percent of Millard County's tax base and provides a significant amount in taxes for the state. The state sales tax in most counties amounts to about 6 percent but only about 1 percent is earmarked for use by local governments.