Residents win lawsuit after being taxed twice

UPDATED: April 25 at 10:05 a.m.

KHQA received an email from a Melrose and Quincy Township resident regarding a tax lawsuit settled in court last week. William Easterling asked, "what about the 442 of 554 (80%) property owners that will not receive a refund because they were not aware of the suit? Shouldn't the Treasurers office refund all 554 tax payers their respective over payment? It is my understanding that only the 112 property owners will be refunded. The settlement was approved by Judge Thomas Ortbal, that the 554 properties in the Ellington and Melrose districts were 'erroneously' taxed." After speaking with the Adams County Treasurer, Terry Asher, and the lead plaintiff for this case, Michael Black, it seems like nothing more can be done for the 442 people who weren't on the lawsuit. They told KHQA it was publicized as much as possible through the media. There's also a 90-day limit for a tax objection and it's a state law that you can't go back to previous years. The 442 people do have a chance at getting reimbursed for the 2010 tax year, but that is still being worked out.

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On the same week IRS taxes are due, more than a hundred Quincy residents have won a major tax lawsuit.

Tuesday, an open court settlement will take place at the Adams County Courthouse. The agreement is to refund all 112 property owners on the lawsuit of their township taxes; what they should have paid versus what they actually paid.

"This is something that's been looming for quite some time."

The plaintiffs say almost 6 years.

"Sometimes these things unfortunately happen and then its about how best to correct them. I believe the plaintiffs were right in filing their tax objection because it did allow the parties to move forward and the court to rule," said Curtis Lovelace, the Assistant States Attorney.

The settlement was approved by Judge Thomas Ortbal, that the 554 properties in the Ellington and Melrose districts were 'erroneously' taxed. As for how the taxing districts will refund the money....

"There's discussions about whether they want to take it out of current funds or wait till next year's tax collections next July," said Michael Black, the lead plaintiff.

Starting with the 2011 tax year, which is paid in 2012, all property owners will be reverted to Quincy Township fixing the problem.

"For us and the Treasurers Office, we just want to make sure it's right with the tax payer. It was probably something that needed to happen years ago, and it took a lawsuit to correct it," said Terry Asher, the Adams County Treasurer.

No doubt the tax payers are happy.

"I've gotten a whole lot of 'thank you's' and 'we're glad to see this.' They just want to know what's going to happen this year. Unfortunately they're not going to have time to fix the tax bills this year. All 554 properties involved will be paying taxes they shouldn't be this year. So we're still working on how can we get it fixed this year, get those people back their money without filing another lawsuit," said Black.

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