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Washoe County votes to settle property value dispute with Incline taxpayers


Washoe County commissioners on Tuesday approved a settlement agreement with Lake Tahoe area property owners involving a lawsuit addressing property values that dates back to last decade.

The Second Judicial District Court case, Village League to Save Incline Assets vs. State Board of Equalization, alleges differences between the assessed valuation of Tahoe properties in Washoe County and Tahoe properties in other counties. Other defendants in the case were the Nevada Tax Commission and Nevada Department of Taxation.

Between July and December 2021, the county plans to start issuing about $56 million in refunds to Incline Village and Crystal Bay residential property owners for the 2003-04, 2004-05, and 2005-06 tax years. These dates apply to original owners who still own the same parcels.

Between January 2022 and June 2024, refunds will be paid to additional verified claimants, which include those who owned property during designated tax years in the Tahoe area but no longer are owners. Such parties must file claims on or before the May 1, 2023 deadline.

Interest on all payments will stop accumulating July 1, 2021, according to the settlement.

Washoe County’s portion is $23 million, with the remaining portions attributable to the Incline Village General Improvement District, Washoe County School District, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, and state.

Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler said settling will save money otherwise spent on further legal fees. She also said she hasn’t heard anything about a rate increase from IVGID or NLTFPD that critics have mentioned might happen to fund payouts.

“This settlement is something we’ll pay out from existing funds and it’s something that is extremely important to resolve, and to save an additional millions of dollars,” Berkbigler said.

The series of challenges to property tax assessments has been ongoing since 2003, when the constitutionality of various methodologies, such as views of Lake Tahoe, were questioned. Taxpayers have since appealed the case’s dismissal multiple times.

Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.