Lee apartments owed tax refund and court orders

TUPELO – An affordable rental housing lawsuit was ordered back to Lee County to determine how much tax reimbursements are owed.
In an 8-0 ruling Thursday by the Mississippi Supreme Court, Justice George Carlson said the Circuit Court of Lee County was wrong to deny the apartment owners’ objection to trebled taxes for 2007.
Neither side’s attorneys could be reached for comment.
The lawsuit arose from 2007 tax payments by Tupelo Trace Apartments and Tupelo Seniors Apartments, which their owners claimed were calculated incorrectly.
Those calculations were made when Assessor Mark “Winky” Weathers discovered that the apartments failed to provide statements of their actual net operating income for the affordable housing units.
After the supervisors approved the tax rolls, Weathers reassessed the apartments, which resulted in taxes about three times higher than the previous year.
The owners paid the taxes and then objected to them, still without submitting the 2006 income report.
The Lee County Board of Supervisors denied the objection, and the owners appealed to Circuit Court.
In 2009, after the court agreed with the supervisors, the owners appealed to the Court of Appeals, and that court affirmed the Circuit Court’s denial.
“This court finds that the trial court improperly permitted the board to change the tax roll after it was final,” Carlson wrote in reversing both lower courts’ decisions.
The decision ordered a judgment in favor of the apartment owners, but the justices sent the case back to Circuit Court to determine how much reimbursement is owed.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal