Shale Support Services, still qualify for tax exemption?
Published 7:00 am Friday, March 3, 2017
After the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors approved a three-year ad valorem tax exemption to Shale Support Services, questions about whether the Board has the authority to retroactively grant an exemption have been lodged.
During the Jan. 18 Board meeting, Supervisors discussed the request made by the company in May of 2016 for exemptions in 2015 and for the next nine years, according to Board minutes.
Mississippi law, as outlined in section 27-31-105, states that a company can apply for an exemption on new or expanded facilities before June 1 of the year immediately following the year in which the additions were completed and can be exempt for up to 10 years.
According to a letter submitted to the Pearl River County Tax Assessor’s office—dated May 27, 2016—the company requested the exemption after it acquired assets in a transaction that closed in November of 2014.
However, the application page following the letter lists the date of completion as Dec. 31, 2015.
Charles R. Caswell, chief financial officer of Shale Support, declined a request for comment to clarify the date. Jeffery Bartlam, president of the company, didn’t return a request for comment by press time Thursday.
“Simply stated, the Board partially approved the attached application requesting a 10-year ad valorem personal property tax exemption for three years, namely 2015, 2016 and 2017, and then as required by state law, it timely forwarded that approval together with the application to the [Mississippi Department of Revenue] for it to investigate and determine whether or not the requested property is or is not eligible for exemption,” Board Attorney Joe Montgomery said in an emailed statement.
Board President Sandy Kane Smith was the only supervisor to vote against the exemption, saying the company didn’t request an exemption when it first moved to the county.
Herb Frierson, Mississippi’s Commissioner of Revenue, said the department is looking into the matter further.
Any company has until June 1 of the year after the work was completed to file for an exemption, Frierson said.
“Once the [DOR] has determined if the property is eligible for exemption and certified that decision to the Board, then the Board will reconsider the matter for a final decision,” Montgomery said.
The Board could still deny the request from Shale Support, even if the DOR determines the property is eligible for an exemption, Montgomery said.
A copy of the exemption request is available on the county website in the Jan. 18 Board minutes.