Maricopa County property tax refund and its impact on schools

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School districts across Maricopa County need to pay back $150 million in funds accumulated through property tax.

Scott Thompson, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Support Services of Mesa Public Schools, joined “Arizona Horizon” to further explain the controversy.

This was after the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld a ruling stating the county overtaxed a group of property owners from 2015 through 2021. The decision stemmed from a lawsuit in 2016, Qasimyar v. Maricopa County that disputed how county officials billed certain property taxes.

Property owners argued properties should be reassessed because the properties changed classification from an owner-occupied residential home to a rental or secondary home, or vice versa.

“To pay back those individuals who were wronged or got the wrong evaluation… all of the property taxing entities like a school district, city, fire district, or community colleges are all going to be asked to recoup these dollars and distribute those to the ones who were wrongfully taxed,” Thompson said.

In order to actually recoup these dollars, taxes will need to be raised on some levels.

“This increase in your taxes may look like a school board setting a higher tax,” Thompson said, “But we’re not increasing taxes because of the actions of our boards or different spending inside the schools. It’s just the money has to be generated and will come from the entities who benefitted from the higher evaluation that’s now low.”

There is no exact time frame for this because it will be unique to each school district.

Scott Thompson, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Support Services, Mesa Public Schools

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