Friday, March 2, 2012

Port of Hueneme Tenants Pursued for Back Taxes

Ventura County, California’s treasurer and tax collector says he’s going after multiple tenant businesses at the Port of Hueneme who collectively owe more than a million dollars in back property taxes.

Treasurer-tax collector Steve Hintz told the Ventura County Star newspaper this week that his office is targeting high value, multiple year delinquencies.

In all, Hintz said, about $1.3 million in back taxes is owed by businesses operating at the port. The largest such debt by far, according to Hintz, is owed by Longview, Wash.-based Brusco Tug & Barge Co., which is delinquent on about $842,800 in unsecured property taxes, which are assessed against the value of assets not secured to the land, such as boats and equipment.

Brusco Tug hasn’t paid the taxes since 2002, Hintz told the newspaper.

Owner Bo Brusco, however, has said there’s a long-standing disagreement with county officials regarding whether two of the company’s tugs are exempt from property taxes. He said an escrow account has been set up to cover the debt, pending an appeal regarding the tax status of the boats.

Under California law, users of port property in California are all subject to the same taxes. Some counties, however, differ on tax law interpretation. This typically results in differences in tax assessment amounts among ports throughout the state.