August 2, 2012
Home owners (property tax payers) are carrying the bulk of the local tax burden. We have heard reports of the PILOT program (payment in lieu of taxes) which gives local companies tax abatements for a period of time. We have heard that this runs up to $48 million dollars per year. At the end of the PILOT contract period they are supposed to go back on the tax rolls (City and County) at the full amount of the tax abatement.
This piqued my interest so I decided to investigate the PILOT subject and the amount of the tax abatement. I found out from the County Trustee that the $48 million dollar annual tax abatement reported in his annual Pilot report was only for the County and does not include the City Pilot abatement. This could run the annual total to $75 million or more. We have asked the City for this annual Pilot abatement number. There are a number of other questions but here is a question on my mind.
Question No. 1- As Pilot recipients come to the end of their tax abatement period, do they in fact start paying the full amount of the tax that was abated during the pilot period? This sounds simple to prove but it is not. Let us look at two
United Parcel Service Inc. 3675 New Swinnea Rd, Contract end date 12/31/2007, assessment tax $436,320.00. Contract tax during the abatement period $1.00. Annual tax abatement, $436,319.00.
Amount of taxes paid in 2009 after the Pilot ended 12/31/2007 for 3675 New Swinnea Rd. $128,469.55 to the county and $102,126.90 to the city. This is a total of $230,596.45.
AMB Property II LP. 4049 Willow Lake Blvd, Contract end 12/31/2006, assessment tax $237,644.11. Contract tax during abatement period $0.00. Annual tax abatement, $237,644.11.
Annual taxes paid in 2008 after the Pilot ended 12/31/2006 for 4049 Willow Lake Blvd $136,791.08 to the county. The taxes paid to the City of Memphis is unclear when you go to the website of the City Treasurer, https://epayments.memphistn.gov/Property/Default.aspx it shows an outstanding balance for personalty taxes in 2008.
There may be an explanation for the above numbers and the fact that there is no central site for Pilot accounting, Pilot checking and the assurance that when Pilots come to an end, that the full amount of the tax abatement is now being paid. The problem is that no one is following up on the expiration dates and making sure that the pilot recipients do in fact pay up. It would seem to be an easy job to have an independent group to monitor each year those Pilot recipients coming to the end of the Pilot and publish a report on their future taxes compared to the amount of taxes abated during the Pilot period. What do you think?