State's clerical error will result in $3.9M property tax refund in county


Phyllis Vest works in the Hancock County Treasurer's Office, which will be sending out tax bills at the end of March or early April. Tax credits will be reflected on that bill. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)

GREENFIELD — A $3.9 million state error in property taxes will mean more money in the pockets of nearly 22,000 local homeowners this spring.

Managing the problem, however, will be a headache for Hancock County officials who have to confront a mistake that wasn’t theirs.

Hancock County Auditor Robin Lowder told the county council Wednesday that the state auditor’s office made a mistake in calculating homestead exemptions on Hancock County’s 2013 property taxes. A spokeswoman for the state auditor characterized the mistake as a clerical error that affected Hancock County and three other counties.

The problem affects everyone who claims a homestead property tax credit. That’s about six out of every 10 properties in the county.

Lowder said she was floored when she received the phone call in late December about the error. She said she’s been working with the county treasurer, attorney and the vendor that prints tax statements on how to remedy the problem.

The solution: Give each homeowner a credit on this year’s property tax statements. The average credit will be $175.41, though the range for each property is wide, from 12 cents to $2,394.

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