County estimates 1,840 tax protest letters received

INCLINE VILLAGE -- Nearly a quarter of Incline Village and Crystal Bay taxpayers have lodged property tax protests with their quarterly payments, according to the Washoe County Treasurer's Office.

"We have about 1,840 protest letters," said Lisa Mitchell, chief deputy treasurer, who said the number included an estimate of two boxes from Incline Village and Crystal Bay property owners that haven't yet been hand-counted.

The letters were spurred by the Village League to Save Incline Assets, which urged property owners to question their taxes.

The letters are part of the league's campaign to oppose this year's average 30 percent property tax increase in Incline Village and Crystal Bay.

The campaign also includes tax appeals at the county and state boards of equalization, organized opposition to interim property appraisal rules used by assessor offices throughout Nevada and a lawsuit threatened against the county Assessor's Office.

League member Ted Harris said it was an "extremely good" response.

"I'm very happy with that number," he said. "It underscores the effect the unreasonable property valuations have on people here."

The letter effort was announced in July during the league's reenactment of the Boston Tea Party. Incline Village resident Chuck Otto said it was a response to comments by staff at the county's Assessor's Office.

"Instead of 123 folks protesting, which the Assessor says is a victory, we're going to shove the signatures of 5,000 people down their throats," he said.

Mitchell said her office sends copies of the letters to the state's attorney general and controller under Nevada Revised Statute 361.420.

That statute requires the letters as a prelude to taxpayer lawsuits about excess taxes against the state, county, and the Nevada tax commission and department. The just causes listed for such suits include a "discriminatory" assessment the league says occurred in Washoe County's Tahoe area.


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