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Refund Rollback: Pinal County Businesses to Receive Transportation Tax Refunds

Pinal County is set to refund businesses that paid a voter-approved transportation tax, which has since been ruled invalid by the Arizona Supreme Court. This tax, approved by voters in 2017, generated approximately $87 million between 2018 and 2022 before being struck down by a 4-3 decision from the state's highest court.

The Supreme Court's ruling stated, "Arizona law does not permit Pinal County to adopt a two-tiered retail transaction privilege tax on tangible personal property as part of a transportation excise tax. Therefore, Pinal County's two-tiered retail transaction privilege tax is invalid."

The refund process is the result of a collaborative effort between the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority (PRTA), Pinal County, and the state Department of Revenue. This intricate agreement took considerable time to finalize, with refunds beginning in March of this year.

John Kross, PRTA Executive Director, emphasized the careful approach taken by all parties involved. "This has never been done in the state of Arizona for that matter, a very, very unique situation. So the Department of Revenue and certainly Pinal County wanted to be very, very careful," Kross explained.

While businesses are being refunded, the future of the county's transportation projects remains uncertain. The initial tax was intended to fund various transportation initiatives, but without a new funding source, these projects are now in limbo. A new transportation tax proposal was pitched to voters in 2022, but it was rejected.

Kross acknowledged the significant need for these transportation projects and mentioned that the PRTA is "actively working on a new regional transportation plan," which they aim to have ready by early fall.

Businesses have until April 9, 2026, to request refunds. However, it is unclear what will happen if there is money left over after the refund period ends or if the county receives more refund requests than it can fulfill. The PRTA hopes any leftover funds will be directed towards the originally approved transportation projects.

The collected funds have been kept in an escrow account, accruing some interest. To date, Pinal County has received 71 refund requests, with 56 approved and processed, resulting in over $12 million being refunded, according to county spokesperson Ray Telles.

Click here to request your TPT business refund and to learn more.

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Saturday, 20 July 2024

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