Miscommunication about a tax break for Facebook could cost Iowa taxpayers nearly $1 million.
Polk County officials independently discovered a $900,000 property assessment error in the Bondurant-Farrar Community School District’s budget for the 2019-2020 academic year. But the school district was not informed of the error until it submitted its budget to Des Moines.
B-CCSD superintendent Rich Powers said the said district's budget include the $900,000 as revenue.
The property in question is a building owned by Facebook that was supposed to be tax exempt. Neither the city of Altoona nor the state notified the Polk County Assessor’s Office there was an extension of the exemption with the social media giant.
According to Powers, the certified budget is a binding document and the district does not have the option to refrain from using the number provided to it “regardless of if we think it’s incorrect or not.”
“We have to build our budget based on the number that’s provided to us,” the superintendent told We Are Iowa.
The district’s school board voted to hire legal counsel in an effort to recover at least some of the funds.
Iowa has a law pertaining to property tax reassessments that allows districts to obtain state assistance if they lose out on funds that they included in their budget, but a property assessment has to be reduced by the Property Assessment Appeals Board or through judicial action.
It is on legislators to change existing property tax reassessment laws so B-CCSD can have a chance of retrieving the lost funds.