The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Vicky Albin
Goldendale 

Experienced perspective

 


To the Editor:

As the former Chief Deputy Assessor and Personal Property Auditor of Klickitat County, I have followed with interest the race between Crista Schroeder and Darlene Johnson. I believe my experience and expertise of 13 years in the Assessor’s office will help voters discern between the law and recent actions of the current administration.

If I were a commercial farmer or commercial business owner in Klickitat County, I would be highly concerned about my lawful and rightful privacy being protected. The information on the Schroders that was illegally released to Mr. Burrill by the current Assessor could only have happened by a breach of confidentiality by the Assessor’s office rather than as a citizen request. It’s disturbing that the integrity of Personal Property has been compromised and that the Assessor would misuse her position and power to character-assassinate her opponent. It’s a violation of public trust.

Any farmer or commercial business owner who has ever been audited by the Department of Revenue knows that omitted personal property is not an uncommon occurrence. When the Assessor’s office receives its copy of the DOR audit and it appears to include equipment that has been overlooked, it is the Assessor’s responsibility to add the equipment to the Personal Property Listing and send the corrected listing to the taxpayer with a letter of explanation. It’s a simple procedure.

It is also common for a taxpayer who is in business to have equipment that is personally owned and equipment that is owned by the business. Often all equipment, either personally owned or business owned, is reported to the IRS on one depreciation schedule. Prior to 2011 when Darlene took office, there had been systems in place at the Assessor’s office to accommodate this situation so that the taxpayer is allowed the rightful $15,000 Value Head of Family exemption on the equipment that is personally owned. The remaining value on the HOF account is taxed at the annual levy rate in the taxpayer’s tax code area.

To quote an old saying, “rumors are always more interesting than the truth.”

 

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