NaturEner USA has formally protested 2017 centrally assessed taxes for its three wind farms in Glacier and Toole counties, according to the Montana Department of Revenue. Currently, NaturEner is appealing their centrally assessed taxes for 2015 and 2016 for its Glacier Wind Energy 1, Glacier Wind Energy 2 and Rim Rock Wind Energy facilities.
At the heart of the protests is a disagreement between NaturEner USA and the Montana Department of Revenue (MDOR) over the valuation and possible deduction of intangible personal property, which includes certificates of stock, bonds, licenses, trademarks, contracts, software, franchises and others, according to Kory Hofland, bureau chief of the MDOR Business Tax and Valuation Bureau.
Intangible personal property is defined by Montana Code Annotated 15-6-218, as that property which “has no intrinsic value but is the representative or evidence of value.” Further, the statute requires, “To the extent that the unit value of centrally assessed property includes intangible personal property, that value must be removed from the unit value.”
According to Hofland, NaturEner disagrees “with the economics of the facilities, how much money they’re able to generate out of it, and of that money that’s generatable, how much is due to intangible personal property. They’re claiming very large amounts of intangible personal property they want exempted.”
For 2017, the MDOR valued Glacier Wind 1, which lies solely in Toole County, at $92.9 million. NaturEner is protesting around 94.28 percent of the value, Hofland said.
For Glacier Wind 2, which lies in both Toole and Glacier counties, the MDOR placed a $79.3 million value. At the time of the interview, Hofland said NaturEner had protested about 92.08 percent of the Toole County valuation.
For Rim Rock, which lies in both Glacier and Toole counties, the MDOR placed a $219.3 million value, and NaturEner is protesting approximately 57.22 percent of that value, said Hofland.
NaturEner did not comment at press time.
NaturEner’s current tax protests regarding the 2015 and 2016 valuations are pending decision by the Montana Tax Appeal Board. Hofland said the hope is for the appeal board hearing to take place within the next year. Following that hearing, either party can appeal the tax appeal board’s decision to district court and the Montana Supreme Court, if necessary.
“So it could take a while to get a final ruling in this matter,” Hofland said.
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