2018-02-07 / Front Page

Progress made at TAVT meeting

The table — the long board of commissioners’ table — at the Blakely Theater was full of lawyers, accountants and elected officials Thursday to discuss the miscalculation of the TAVT revenues and how to reimburse misappropriated funds.

The meeting was prompted by action at the January Board of Education meeting when the board voted to consider discussing with their lawyer the filing of a lawsuit to recover over $650,000 in TAVT revenues they had been underpaid since the TAVT went into effect in March 2013.

The General Assembly passed legislation eliminating sales tax on most motor vehicles. Instead, beginning March 1, 2013, a 7% Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) is now required on every title transfer based on the State’s fair market value and is due at the time of the title transfer.

The miscalculation also led to an overpayment of over $587,000 to the City of Blakely.

The legislation provided formulas for the tax commissioner to use to compute proper distributions of the revenues to the county, cities and board of education.

At least three problems arose with the implementation of TAVT in Early County. First, former Tax Commissioner Sylvia Hood miscalculated the distributions. Second, the legislation states. Second, none of the recipients of TAVT revenues caught the problem. Third, there are no provisions how to establish a reimbursement and redistribution plan.

The miscalculation was discovered in April 2017 by Tax Commissioner Ann Harrell.

After the TAVT miscalculation was discovered, Worth County Tax Commissioner Tabetha Dupriest has reviewed the local tax office’s TAVT calculations. That review resulted in the in the over payment/underpayment figures.

Dupriest gave a detailed explanation of how the miscalculations happened when Hood was initially implementing the TAVT formulas. She also noted the lack of computerization.

The City made an initial $140,000 payment last week last week and has increased ad valorem tax from 3.25 mills to 4.25 mills to help generate funds to help reimburse the overpayment.

County attorney Bill Mills was directed to prepare an agreement for redistribution of the TAVT monies for all parties to sign.

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