in Houston, Texas
Valero tells the tax man what’s what, awarded $5 million in overpaid taxes
Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013, 03:01PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Valero

Memo to southeast Texas oil companies: you might want to have your people give your local tax bills the old once over before sending off a check.

A Galveston County jury taking issue with a novel revenue enhancing program has decided the Texas City Independent School District, Texas City, Galveston County and the College of the Mainland must give nearly $5 million back to Valero Energy Corp. for an excessive assessment of its Texas City refinery.

The school district is on the hook for $2.45 million the jury said it had no business collecting from the independent oil refiner based in San Antonio, the Houston Chronicle reports this morning.

Galveston County is in arrears for $1.16 million; Texas City owes $805,000; and the college, $439,000.

Seems the Galveston Central Appraisal District in 2011 came in with an assessed value of the refinery that was off by just a bit more than a rounding error, $189.38 million, according to the jury.

And it wasn’t the first time. The school district in 2009 was forced to return $2.38 million to Valero after the Appraisal District worked its assessment magic.

Valero went after the appraisal of its Jefferson County plants in 2011, and a jury ordered the Port Arthur Independent School District to give back $14.6 million.

The company has at least two other lawsuits pending to try to take back tax money for which Valero contends it was overcharged, the Chronicle says.

Several officials for the involved government bodies could not be reached for comment, but those who did said the refund would be a hardship.

Aw, don’t be that way. Take it from Virginia Hopkins, our favorite waitress at Johnny’s Downtown Restaurant in Cleveland, who never thought twice about returning the $433,958 more than she was supposed to get for her tax refund.

You’ll just feel better about it.

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of a gas station by flickr user derrich, used via a Creative Commons license.

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