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Commissioners may lower the mobile home excise tax

March 04, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Mobile home buyers may soon pay a smaller excise tax.

The Washington County Commissioners are considering reducing the tax on mobile homes from $1 per square foot to 25 cents per square foot for the current fiscal year.

County Administrator Rodney Shoop told the county commissioners Tuesday that when they approved the excise tax last year, mobile homes were classified as multi-family housing units, which are those attached to other houses.

The tax on the construction of multi-family housing units is $1 per square foot.

Shoop asked the commissioners to reduce the tax on mobile homes, saying they should be considered single-family units.

The construction of single-family homes is taxed at a rate of 25 cents per square foot.

Shoop said he's received two letters and other complaints about the charge for mobile homes.

He also asked that mobile home owners who already paid the $1-per-square-foot tax receive a refund for the overpayments.

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The refunds would total about $25,000, he said.

He said the lower fee would make mobile home purchases more affordable to low-income families.

Commissioner John C. Munson said he agreed with Shoop and that mobile home owners who paid the higher rate should be partially reimbursed.

"I can't understand how that happened to begin with," Munson said.

Before a decision is made, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said, the commissioners will review how all types of housing were classified under the excise tax ordinance to make sure the county is being consistent in its fee structure.

The commissioners approved the excise tax in June 2003. While the tax on the construction of multi-family housing units will remain at $1 per square foot, the rate on single family home construction will increase annually through fiscal year 2006.

The rate on single-family home construction will go up to 50 cents per square foot in fiscal year 2005, which begins on July 1, and 75 cents in fiscal year 2006.

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