Utilities and Motor Carriers
The Tax Division is headed by the Tax Division Director employs a staff of fourteen employees divided by staff members specializing in motor and passenger carriers valuations and staff members specializing in utility and railroad valuations
Each year, the Tax Division mails Ad Valorem Report forms to the utilities and carriers to obtain the information needed for the assessment process. With the exception of motor carriers and private rail car companies, the companies are required to file the completed forms with the Tax Division on or before March 1. Motor carrier companies are required to file the completed report forms by March 31, and private railroad car companies are required to file the completed report forms by April 1. Utilities and carriers may be granted an extension of not more than sixty days to file the report forms. Companies that fail to file the report form within the time required are delinquent and are subject to penalties prescribed in Ark. Code Ann. § 26-26-1604.
Once the Tax Division receives the report forms, it begins the process of valuing and assessing the companies. The Tax Division considers the economic and financial factors that impact the various industries and factors that may affect a specific company’s valuation in the valuation and assessment process. The Tax Division personnel must have specialized knowledge of the industries assessed and stay abreast of the economic, regulatory, and technological changes that take place in the utility and carrier industries. As part of the assessment process, the Tax Division holds informal pre-assessment hearings with utilities or carriers that request such hearings.
Certification of Values
Once the Tax Division completes the valuation and assessment process, the utility assessments are submitted to the Arkansas Public Service Commission for approval and the carrier assessments are submitted to the Arkansas State Highway Commission for approval. After the Commissions approve the assessments, a notice of assessment is mailed to each of the utilities and carriers assessed by the Tax Division. The utilities and carriers then have a thirty (30) day period to file a formal petition for review of the assessment. The final assessment amounts for utilities and railroads are certified to the County Assessors on or before July 15th to be placed on the county tax rolls. Motor carrier, airline, barge line and private car company assessments are certified to the Department of Finance and Administration in February of the year following the assessment. The applicable millage rates are applied to the assessments by county or state officials to produce the tax amounts to be billed and collected.