Whitesburg KY

Higher taxes on old autos angers unaware residents

Some Letcher County residents have recently gotten a surprise when they walked into the clerk’s office to pay motor vehicle property taxes. Their bills increased from what they paid last year.

“They don’t understand what is happening,” said Letcher County Property Valuation Administrator Randy Hall. “Anytime you keep a vehicle for another year and put more mileage on it, the value should go down.”

That is not the case for some vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs), crossover vehicles and light-duty trucks.

“People are coming in and saying their tax bill is higher and they are mad about it,” said Hall. “People are in shock. They expect it to decrease. This is going to affect about everyone in the county.”

Kellie Lang, motax section supervisor with the Office of Property Valuation in Frankfort, said in a memo to PVAs that the values of some vehicles have risen because of an increased demand and diminished supply caused by several factors.

David Gordon, executive director of the Office of Property Valuation, said one of the factors is that people stopped buying “gas guzzlers” when the price of gas increased and then began showing an interest in sport utility vehicles once gas prices began to fall.

Lang’s memo to PVAs said fewer used vehicles in the supply chain caused used car prices to rise as demand rebounded. Her memo also said market events including the credit crisis, limited manufacturer incentives, curtailed new vehicle production and the Cash for Clunkers program, have all contributed to increased demand at the wholesale level.

Gordon said the increase does not apply to every vehicle and people concerned with their tax bill can go to their PVA office and double check the value of the vehicle.

“Adjustments can be made if there has been damage to the vehicle or high mileage,” said Gordon.

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