ANDERSON – A request by the Anderson Township trustee’s office to vacate an alley has turned into a dispute over the payment of property taxes.
The request is to remove an alley from public right-of-way behind Anderson Discount Tobacco. The alley parallels 1th Street and runs from Central Avenue to Main Street. The tobacco store is located on one of three parcels owned there by the township trustee.
The request was tabled by the City Council on Nov. 14 and continued last Monday. It could be considered at the council’s Dec. 12 meeting.
But since 2008, neither Anderson Discount Tobacco nor the Anderson Township trustee has paid property and personal property taxes on the business.
Madison County Assessor Larry Davis and Auditor Jane Lyons believe the tobacco store should be paying those property taxes. An opinion by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance supports that position saying that since the property is being rented by a private for-profit business, it is not eligible for a government exemption from paying taxes.
Currently there is $3,375.15 in back taxes owed on the property not including penalties and interest for 2012. There is $2,279.30 owed on the 2011 taxes that were due in 2012.
Lyons said the property was listed for a tax sale by the county but was removed from the list by Judge Thomas Newman Jr.
She said the trustee believes the property should not be taxed because it’s owned by a government entity.
“It has always been the opinion of the Auditor’s office, even before I became auditor, that since they were making money from the business, it should be taxed,” she said.
Lyons said she won’t remove it from the list and that the Anderson Township trustee can seek an exemption from the Property Assessment Board of Appeals or the DLGF.