Mobile-home owners in Utah County can expect to receive a property tax refund in the mail, but it won't be big and it won't be soon.

County assessor Ronald Smith said because of House Bill 397 (the AMAX bill) the county overbilled 1,817 mobile-home owners on their 1991 property taxes. Besides eliminating the 20 percent exemption on intangible values, the bill also increased the exemption on residential property from 25 percent to 29.75 percent. The bill's effective date is Jan. 1, 1991.However, because the bill was passed after tax notices were mailed out to mobile-home owners in January, the owners did not receive the exemption increase.

"(Legislators) raised the exemption after we had already billed mobile-home owners," Smith said. "I think they just erroneously forgot that mobile-home bills had already been mailed out."

The total amount the county will have to refund is $19,384, Smith said. The average refund will be $7.54. For mobile-home owners who have not yet paid their property taxes, "they will receive an adjustment to their bill rather than a refund," he said.

County Treasurer Leonard Smith said the refunds likely will be mailed out in two to four weeks, depending on whether the checks can be printed with a laser printer. A separate account will be opened to make the refund process easier. Smith said it will cost about $1,700 to issue the refunds.

County officials considered notifying mobile-home owners of the overbilling by letter and then crediting the overcharge to next year's taxes. But Smith said many mobile-home owners will likely sell their home before then. Some counties are choosing to wait until mobile-home owners request the refund before taking any action. County commissioners said they would rather be upfront and take care of the problem now.