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Porter County Administration Center

The Porter County Administration Center in downtown Valparaiso is shown during an autumn sunset.

VALPARAISO — One-third of Porter County businesses undervalued their personal property for tax purposes, according to a five-year audit done for the county assessor’s office.

Tax Management Associates audited 1,056 companies with personal property worth more than $20,000 and found 333, or 32 percent, were “deficient,” meaning they estimated the value too low, Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder said.

Businesses are responsible for reporting all tangible personal property used in their trade or business, used to produce income or held as an investment that should be or is subject to depreciation for federal income tax purposes, Snyder said. That could include anything from industrial presses to information technology and more.

That property is self-assessed, rather than having government employees calculate the value.

Because of the audits, nearly $1.4 million additional revenue was generated for the county, he said.

The assessed value of personal property in the county was boosted about $45 million based on the audits, Snyder said.

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“We would assume there would be a lesson learned and additional revenue for the county moving forward,” Snyder said.

“Auditing is never fun, but it is necessary to ensure compliance with personal property tax reporting requirements,” he said. “I am very pleased that we were able to help businesses better understand Indiana’s sometimes complex reporting requirements.”

Businesses with personal property valued under $20,000 don’t have to pay tax on it; they simply file a report saying the value is under the threshold, Snyder said.

The audit began in 2013 and cost about $250,000. Billing was based on the complexity of each case reviewed, not on the additional taxes captured, he said.

“We just said hey, we haven’t looked at these for a long time in this county,” Snyder said.

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