Commissioners reject tax protest

Moffat County commissioners rejected a tax protest Monday that would have cost the county and school district more than $40,000.

The protest came from Wexpro Company, a Salt Lake City-based natural gas supplier.

Wexpro paid $704,534 in taxes to Moffat County in 2003, the tax year the company protested.

Bruce Cartwright, a tax consultant working for Wexpro, argued that the company made a clerical error in 2003 when accountants based their taxes in Moffat County on wellhead pricing rather than net production.

Cartwright asked the county to refund $46,946 to the company for the error.

But Moffat County Assessor Suzanne Brinks said Wexpro officials made a conscious decision to base their taxes on wellhead pricing and cited a letter from the company to prove it.

Commissioners sided with Brinks on Tuesday and voted 2-1 to reject Wexpro's protest.

Commissioner Darryl Steele said he didn't think Wexpro made a clerical error.

"I think this was a conscious decision of the company," Steele said.

Commissioner Tom Gray voted against the decision, saying he wanted more time to review the case and study the law before voting on it.

Cartwright said he would encourage Wexpro officials to appeal the decision to the state level.

The company has 30 days to file an appeal, but Brinks said it could take 18 months before the state hears Wexpro's case.

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