Committee votes to reduce interest rates on unpaid mineral taxes

Oct 30, 2013

The Legislature’s Revenue Committee strongly supported a bill Tuesday that would lower interest rates on unpaid mineral taxes.

Currently, if a state audit finds that companies have incorrectly reported their production, counties can levy interest of up to 18 percent on back taxes.

The bill changes that, pegging interest to current rates, with a minimum of 12 percent and a maximum of 18 percent. Interest rates for companies that discover the discrepancy on their own would remain the same – at 18 percent.

Scott Harnsberger is President of the Wyoming County Treasurer’s Association. He told the committee that having a lower tax rate after an audit takes away the incentive for companies to correct their figures sooner rather than later.

 “We just want a little bit of a hammer to make sure that we receive our taxes timely [sic].”

Industry responded that because of the length of audit proceedings, it would still make sense for a company that caught the error on its own to pay up sooner, at the higher tax rate, rather than later, at the lower one.

The bill will be considered by the full Legislature during the session, which starts in February.