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Mississippi justices consider airport hangar tax dispute

The Mississippi Supreme Court will decide whether a company should be exempt from paying more than $61,000 in local property taxes.

Justices heard arguments Wednesday in the case of a company called G4, which is owned by Pearl River County resident Tyron Gill. The company wants to be exempt on paying taxes for an airport hangar that Gill built on land leased at Picayune Municipal Airport, the Picayune Item reported.

The company has already paid $34,557 of taxes for 2009, 2010 and 2011. A petition submitted to Pearl River County supervisors requests that money be refunded. Supervisors say the company still owes another three years’ worth of taxes to the county and to the Picayune School District.

Companies with leases at the Picayune Municipal Airport can be exempt from property taxes if they use the property they lease for “commercial purposes,” Gill’s attorney, Robin Roberts told the Supreme Court. Roberts argued that the company should not been required to get a tax exemption approved. He said the exemption should have been automatically applied because of the kind of lease the company had with the city.

The county’s lawyer, Joe Montgomery, argued that supervisors had authority to determine whether G4 qualified for the tax exemption. The county wants G4 to pay the remaining three years of taxes owed. Montgomery said that at least twice, Picayune city officials had determined that G4 was not engaged in commercial activity.

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