PA 15-184—sHB 7060

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE FAILURE TO FILE FOR CERTAIN TAX EXEMPTIONS, THE EXTENSION OF CERTAIN TAX CREDITS AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS, EXEMPTIONS FROM CERTAIN FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND ADMISSIONS TAX REQUIREMENTS, AND VALIDATIONS

SUMMARY: This act exempts:

1. any athletic event presented by a member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball at Bridgeport's Harbor Yard Ballpark from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017 from the admissions tax ( 11) and

2. state economic development funds awarded before July 1, 2020 to a West Haven mixed-use development project or related infrastructure from the law requiring legislative approval when a project's total state economic development funding exceeds $10 million ( 10).

The act extends the statutory deadlines for:

1. the (a) state to provide funds for Bridgeport's Steel Point development project and (b) Steel Point Special Taxing District to issue bonds to finance infrastructure improvements in the district ( 8 & 9),

2. taxpayers in specified towns to file claims for certain property tax exemptions ( 1-6), and

3. municipalities participating in the land value taxation pilot program to submit implementation plans to specified legislative committees ( 7).

Lastly, the act limits the number of times municipalities may participate in the pilot program and validates the actions Bozrah's registrar of voters and deputy, assistant, or special assistant registrars of voters took between January 7, 2015 and July 2, 2015. The validation applies only to acts that were otherwise valid except for the fact that these officials were not appointed as the statutes require (CGS 9-192) ( 12).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015, except that the Bozrah validation and the deadline extensions for the land value pilot program and Steel Point Special Taxing District take effect upon passage.

10 — WEST HAVEN MIXED-USE PROJECT

By law, the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and Connecticut Innovations, Inc. (CII) must obtain the legislature's approval for economic development assistance totaling over $10 million in two years for an economic development project (CGS 32-462(b)).

The act exempts from this requirement assistance for a West Haven mixed-use project or related infrastructure improvements if the project is located south of the New England Thruway and east of First Avenue and has at least 200,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space. The exemption applies only to assistance awarded before July 1, 2020.

8 & 9 — STEEL POINT SPECIAL TAXING DISTRICT

The act gives Bridgeport's Steel Point Special Taxing District five additional years to obtain funds for making public improvements. It extends, from June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2020, the deadline by which DECD and CII may provide up to $40 million in financial assistance under their existing programs to develop and improve property in Bridgeport.

The act also gives the district more time to issue its own bonds for these purposes before Bridgeport's city council may vote to merge the district with the city. Prior law allowed the council to do so if the district failed to issue bonds by July 1, 2015. The act extends the deadline for the district to issue bonds to July 1, 2020.

1-6 — FILING DEADLINES FOR CERTAIN PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS

Pre-2011 Machinery and Equipment Tax Exemption

By law, machinery and equipment newly acquired before 2011 qualify for the statutory five-year property tax exemption (CGS 12-81 (72)). The exemption applies to machinery and equipment used for manufacturing, biotechnology, and recycling, and taxpayers must annually file for it by November 1.

The act allows taxpayers in Durham, New Haven, and Windsor to claim this exemption for machinery and equipment on specified grand lists even though they missed the mandatory November 1 filing deadline (CGS 12-81(72)). The Durham and Windsor taxpayers may claim the exemption for such property on the October 1, 2014 grand list, and the New Haven taxpayer may claim it for such property on the October 1, 2013 or October 1, 2014 grand lists.

The act waives this deadline if the taxpayers file for the exemption by July 31, 2015 and pay the statutory late fee. In each case, the local tax assessor must verify the property's eligibility for the exemption and approve it, and the municipality must refund any taxes paid on the machinery and equipment if the application was filed in a timely manner. (Property on the October 1, 2013 grand list is taxed during FY 15; property on the October 1, 2014 grand list is taxed in FY 16. )

Post-2011 Machinery and Equipment Tax Exemption

Beginning with the October 1, 2011 grand list year, the law permanently exempts from the property tax machinery and equipment used for manufacturing, biotechnology, and recycling regardless of when it was acquired (CGS 12-81 (76)). But taxpayers must still include this property in their annual personal property declarations, which they must submit to their assessors by November 1. The act allows taxpayers in New Haven to claim this exemption for machinery and equipment on the October 1, 2013 grand list even though they missed the mandatory November 1 filing deadline.

The act waives this deadline if the taxpayers file their declarations by July 31, 2015 and pay the statutory late fee. The city's assessor must verify the property's eligibility for the exemption and approve it, and the city must refund any taxes paid on the property if the declaration was filed in a timely manner.

New Commercial Vehicles Tax Exemption

By law, taxpayers eligible for the statutory property tax exemption for specific types of new commercial motor vehicles must also file for this exemption by November 1 (CGS 12-81 (74)). The act allows taxpayers in Hartford to claim this exemption for eligible motor vehicles on the 2014 grand list even though they missed the mandatory November 1, 2014 filing deadline.

The act waives the deadline if the taxpayers file for the exemption by July 31, 2015 and pay the statutory late fee. Hartford's assessor must verify the taxpayers' eligibility for the exemption and approve it, and the city must refund any taxes paid on the vehicles if the application was filed in a timely manner.

Nonprofit Property Tax Exemption

By law, property owners eligible for the statutory property tax exemption for certain land and buildings owned by nonprofit organizations must file quadrennially for this exemption by November 1 (CGS 12-81 (7)). The act allows a nonprofit organization in North Branford to claim the exemption for property on the 2013 grand list even though it missed this statutory filing deadline.

The nonprofit must file for the exemption by July 31, 2015 and pay the statutory late fee. The town's assessor must verify the organization's eligibility and approve the exemption. The town must refund any taxes, interest, and penalties paid on the property.

7 — LAND VALUE TAXATION PILOT PROGRAM

The act gives municipalities more time to comply with one of the procedural requirements for participating in the land value taxation pilot program, under which they can tax land at a higher rate than buildings instead of taxing both at the same rate.

Municipalities that want to impose the higher land tax may do so only by participating in the pilot program. They must apply to the Office of Policy and Management, which may accept up to three municipalities into the program. These municipalities must prepare plans for assessing the tax and submit them to their legislative bodies for approval. They must also submit the approved plans to the Commerce; Planning and Development; and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees. The act extends, from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2015, the deadline for submitting the plans to these committees.

The act allows municipalities to participate in the pilot program only once, making those selected for the program ineligible for subsequent selection. By law, a participating municipality may limit the land value tax to areas designated in its plan for implementing this tax. Under the act, it cannot reapply to the program for designating other areas.

BACKGROUND

Related Act

PA 15-244, 216 provides the same admissions tax exemption as the act.

OLR Tracking: JR: LH: MS: cmg