Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

More utility tax cases end in refunds


December 5, 2019

Three more rulings were made in tax court cases in the continuing saga of utility companies seeking refunds for overpaying taxes.

A number of energy and utility providers filed petitions contesting their valuations made by the State of Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR). In the cases where the court has ruled that a provider was valued more than it should have been, the providers are being issued refunds for paying more taxes than they should have.

The Office of the County Coordinator gave an update on the situation in a recent press release after three more rulings were issued. “No matter how the DOR ultimately addresses these matters, there will be an impact on property taxes in Carlton County.”

Although it is the responsibility of the State to set the Estimated Market Value (EMV) for taxing purposes, it is unlikely that the State will be responsible for paying for these refunds unless the State Legislature takes action to do so. In the event no action is taken by the Legislature, the burden falls to local taxing authorities including counties, cities, townships, and schools. In turn, those payments are collected from taxpayers.

According to the Office of the County Coordinator, Perch Lake, Sawyer, Twin Lakes, and Silver Brook Township will be impacted the most.

A number of the tax court cases have been finalized but two remain pending with Enbridge Energy, LLC and Enbridge Energy, L.P. Both of these cases had recent rulings but they are now in appeal. The County hopes to know more about their status before February 2020.

“It is also very important to understand that the remaining cases involve two of our largest taxpayers in Carlton County and the impacts are likely to be significantly more than what we have seen to date,” it was said in the press release.

Finalized cases in which refunds were ordered to be paid:

$332,225.10 to Minnesota Energy Resources Corp.

$12,792 to Wisconsin Central Terminal a/k/a Canadian National

$74,044 to Great Lakes Transmission

$70,125 to Enbridge Energy Southern Lights Line Pollution Control Exemption

$517,092 to Northern Natural Gas, LTD


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