Nevada Appeal Staff Report

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October 4, 2012
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Proposal would eliminate property tax on flagpoles

The long list of home improvements subject to property taxes in Nevada would be shorter by one item — flagpoles — under a proposed state law change that Carson City Assessor Dave Dawley is circulating.Dawley said Wednesday he recently got a flurry of phone calls, including one from the office of Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., asking whether flagpoles permanently installed at homes or businesses are being taxed, and Dawley told the callers they are.“We’re not talking about flags on sticks” or anything “rinky-dink,” said Dawley, adding that taxes are typically levied on high-end steel poles set in concrete and often illuminated.Estimating tools used by assessors put a value of roughly $500 on such flagpoles when they are new, and that translates to an additional $6 a year on a property tax bill, Dawley said. The tax decreases slightly over time.Critics of the tax say installing a flagpole “is a patriotic thing to do, so you are being taxed for being patriotic,” Dawley said, adding, “I don’t necessarily disagree with that argument.”Providing an exemption for flagpoles in a state law that says taxable property includes any improvements “built or erected upon the land” is “the right thing to do,” Dawley said.Dawley serves on the legislative committee of the Nevada Assessors Association. He’s circulating the exemption plan among other assessors and has received several responses agreeing with the idea.The proposal would be inserted in a catch-all bill from the assessors that would be considered by the 2013 Legislature. It could take effect upon passage by lawmakers and approval by the governor.One of the callers to Dawley’s office was Roger Hartley, a retired Storey County sheriff’s deputy and Air Force veteran who has two grandchildren now serving in the Army: a granddaughter who was deployed in Iraq and a grandson who may be deployed in Afghanistan. He recently put a flagpole up at his Carson City home.Hartley said he started making calls after hearing that the flagpole could be subject to taxation, adding, “I’d have to pay a tax to fly the flag in honor of my grandchildren? That’s not right at all.”“Unless you let people know how you feel, unless you’re the squeaky wheel, nothing gets done,” Hartley said. “It’s not the money. It’s just the idea. Patriotism to me is a good thing.”

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Oct 4, 2012 02:27AM Published Oct 4, 2012 02:26AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.