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PUD must pay back taxes to local Native Americans

March 23rd, 2006 - 7:28am


(Port Angeles, WA) -- Native American tribal members will be refunded about $163,000.00 in tax money collected over the past 5 years by the Clallam County PUD.

Executive Director Shelley Burgett says the state attorney general issued an opinion a few years ago that Native Americans living on tribal land were exempt from public utility tax. She says the tax had been included in the PUD rates until it was changed at the beginning of this year.

The tribes requested a refund from the PUD -- requiring the county and state to pay back their share of the money. The state Department of Revenue contacted the Clallam County Treasurer's Office last December to notify the county that the PUD has mistakenly been collecting PUD privilege taxes from tribal members as part of their electrical billing.

The privilege tax has been assessed by utility districts in lieu of property taxes since 1941 for the privilege of doing business in the state. Of the money collected 4 percent goes to the state general fund, 37-point-6 goes to the state general fund for disbursement to school districts and the rest going to counties for disbursement to various other taxing districts.



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