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Businesses seek property tax relief during COVID-19

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Local business owners are asking that late penalty fees or interest be waived for property taxes.

The Hubbard County Board discussed the matter at their April 21 meeting.

County Coordinator Eric Nerness noted that a Senate finance committee has held hearings about the delay or deferral of property taxes or payment of penalty fees. He said the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) and Minnesota Association of County Administrators

“We don’t have firm guidance yet, other than AMC has recommended that counties continue to be patient so that we have a unified and understandable state-level approach to this issue,” Nerness said. “That being said, I do know that other counties have gone ahead and made decisions about interest and penalty for the property tax.”

The county board cannot change the tax due date, but has statutory authority concerning abatement, he added.


Molly Luther, owner of the Good Life Cafe, asked the commissioners to consider that other payments, like sales tax, have been postponed until May.

“That is a huge crimp on cash flow when businesses are just opening up,” she said.

She suggested a flexible due date, such as eight weeks after the stay-at-home order is lifted.

County Auditor-Treasurer Kay Rave recommended July 15, “as that is the most agreed upon date, thus far,” but that could be extended if businesses are still affected by shutdowns.

Board chair Char Christenson said the discussion will be ongoing. “We need input. We need to see what the Senate does. We need more input from AMC,” she said.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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