Supervisors call meeting to discuss Section 42 housing tax dispute

MCCOMB — Pike County supervisors want to meet with owners of Section 42 housing to settle a tax dispute that could cost the county thousands of dollars.

Section 42 is housing, low-income apartment complexes whose developers get tax credits for building them.

For years counties factored in the tax credits when calculating the apartments’ income for taxation purposes. In 2005, the Legislature passed a law saying the tax credits should not be considered, but many counties, including Pike, continued to do so. Section 42 housing developers sued.

In October, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Humphreys County used the wrong method to determine property taxes on Section 42 housing and ordered the county to reimburse taxes collected since 2006. The ruling applies statewide.

Pike County could have to repay almost $100,000, while the city of McComb could have to pay $43,000, McComb School District $68,000 and North Pike School District $28,000, according to estimates from county officials.

“What we want to do is have one conference, one negotiation to settle them all (reimbursements) from ’05 through 2012,” Supervisor Chuck Lambert told the Enterprise-Journal.

Lambert wants the McComb city board and McComb and North Pike school districts to participate in the negotiation.

Lambert said the affected boards will wind up in a financial pickle unless they do something.

“Not only are you going to get hit with having to pay the taxes back, but you’re going to be hit with getting less taxes going forward,” Lambert said.

Officials statewide have complained about the court decision, saying it unfairly shifts the tax burden from Section 42 owners to residents and businesses. But the complaints are pointless unless the Supreme Court changes its mind or the Legislature adjusts the law.

The issue has been raised for several years in the Legislature but nothing has passed.

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