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Hall County denies Publix request for tax refund
Grocery chain sought refund for 3-year period based on vendor credits
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners denied a claim by Publix Supermarkets for a refund on property taxes paid from 2011 through 2013, a move that has been repeated by other counties across the region.

Chief Tax Assessor Steve Watson said Publix is seeking the refunds based on a new methodology used to calculate how much vendor credits would reduce its inventory levels at six stores across Hall County.

Inventory levels are one measure used to assess the value of commercial properties.

Publix did not report the credits during the tax years in question.

Watson said that if the credits were accepted it would reduce the valuation on Publix properties in Hall by about $5 million, resulting in a reduction of more than $50,000 a year in county, city and state taxes.

Because the claim for refunds does not reflect an erroneous or illegal assessment, Watson said it is “not appropriate” to reduce the level of inventory for Publix properties.

“They’re alleging that they left off the vendor credits,” Watson added. “We think they’re just trying to change their methodology.”

County commissioners said they denied Publix’s claim, in part, because the deadline to file appeals has long passed.

Representatives from Publix did not respond to requests for comment prior to deadline.

Publix ran into a similar rejection in Gwinnett County.

“… We did receive a request for a refund based on vendor credits for tax years 2011, 2012 and 2013,” said Deputy Chief Appraiser Stewart Oliver. “The Board of Assessors denied that refund request in August.”

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