KANSAS CITY, Missouri - After an NBC Action News investigation, several corporate plane owners are coming forward to declare their aircraft and pay 2011 personal property taxes.
The investigation identified five planes registered to corporations . Based on flight history, the planes appeared to be kept at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport.
However, the planes were nowhere to be found on Clay County’s tax rolls.
Thursday, an employee with the Clay County Assessor’s Office said four of the five corporate owners have come forward to get their aircraft assessed.
The planes are registered to G.W. Van Keppel, Stevenson Leasing LLC, Sabre 65 LLC, and RFO LLC.
The only corporation that is fighting the location of its plane is Clarkson Construction. The company has not responded to repeated tax questions by NBC Action News, but an attorney representing Clarkson has contacted the assessor’s office, saying the jet is hangared in Johnson County, Kansas.
However, the plane’s 2011 flight history indicated that all 27 trips this year have either taken off or landed at Wheeler.
If assessed at the full rate, the planes would represent an estimated $220,000 of combined property tax revenue in 2011. The actual amount will be less because plane owners have the option of filing with the State Tax Commission and getting a prorated assessment, based on the percentage of miles they fly in Missouri.
The planes would also owe an estimated $850,000 for three year’s worth of back taxes with penalty and interest. But Clay County Assessor Cathy Rinehart told NBC Action News she will not pursue the delinquent taxes. Rinehart said it is her policy to give everyone a fresh start and put the property on the books when she finds out about it.
That revelation upset Sen. Luann Ridgeway , a lawmaker representing a district in Clay County.
“If the county assessor doesn’t try, then the county collector doesn’t send a bill, and the system doesn’t work,” said Ridgeway. “Property taxes are an enormously growing burden and when we have anyone who is not declaring property or paying amounts that are lawfully due, it just shifts the burden to people who don’t have any choice."
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