Newspaper article The Billings Gazette (Billings, MT)

Refinery Takes Tax Dispute to Court

Newspaper article The Billings Gazette (Billings, MT)

Refinery Takes Tax Dispute to Court

Article excerpt

Phillips 66 has taken its property tax protest involving its Billings refinery to court in Yellowstone County.

In a complaint filed in Yellowstone County District Court in mid-August, Phillips 66 said the Montana Department of Revenue illegally or improperly raised the refinery's market value for 2010, resulting in a tax bill that was $623,715 higher.

The refinery's market value in 2010 should be $379,718,534, the complaint said, not the department's retroactive change to $508,333,155.

The oil company, formerly called ConocoPhillips, also asked Yellowstone District Judge Ingrid Gustafson to block its revised tax assessment, saying it will "suffer irreparable injury absent the issuance of a preliminary injunction."

Phillips 66 officials in Houston declined to comment further, saying the company's position was summarized in the complaint.

The complaint also said Montana is improperly trying to retroactively raise the refinery's tax assessment from 2003 through 2010 in order to collect more taxes.

Revenue Department officials in Helena said Tuesday that they are reviewing the complaint and plan to file a response by the end of next week.

Under state law, the department has the legal authority to secure a fair, just and equitable valuation of all taxable property ..." because if one taxpayer fails to accurately report property, all other taxpayers pay higher taxes," according to department spokeswoman Mary Ann Dunwell. …

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