Boone County keeping close eye on Kraft Heinz property value appeal
COLUMBIA - The Kraft Heinz manufacturing plant is appealing the value of its property.
But instead of shooting for a higher number, officials are going in the opposite direction.
Kraft Heinz is hoping for a lower number, about $1.7 million, to have lower property taxes.
The appeal could have a major effect on Boone County tax entities, such as the Columbia School Board and Boone County Library system. Boone County Collector of Revenue Brian McCollum said when a taxpayer pays its taxes while under an ongoing appeal, those funds go into a holding account that cannot be distributed to tax entities.
"Once that payment is made to my office, we set those funds aside in an impound account. Those funds do not get distributed out to the taxing entities at that time," McCollum said. "Once that payment comes in we would put it into a holding account."
Last year the Kraft Heinz company paid a little more than $200,000 in taxes to Boone County. Of that, $160,000 goes to the Columbia School Board, $10,000 to the City of Columbia, and $8,000 to the Boone County Library system. If the appeal is not resolved before the end of 2017, the taxes normally distributed to these entities would be put in a hold, unable to be touched.
"Until a resolution or an order is handed down by the state taxing commission regarding that appeal, that is when we would distribute any funds either to the taxing entities," McCollum said. "Or if the taxing commission decides the value of the property should be lowered we would issue a refund back to Kraft Heinz. That could take weeks, that could take months, that could take up to a year."
The county assessed the company's real estate value at $2.7 million, with an open market value of $8.3 million. Kraft Heinz proposed it believes the property should be assessed at $960,000 with an open market value of $3 million.
Kraft Heinz currently receives a 75 percent property tax break on $93 million worth of equipment for seven years, which the company said at the time the tax break was approved would save it more than $5.2 million.