Posted: Oct 11, 2012 5:40 PM by Andrew Ellison - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Oct 11, 2012 8:45 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Nueces County Appraisal District says that a local advertising company isn't paying its fair share of property taxes. The company is Cooper Outdoor Advertising, a company well known for its billboards that other businesses use to advertise.
According to documents from the Appraisal District, Cooper owes over $140,000 in unpaid taxes.
Companies like Cooper are supposed to report all of their property to the Appraisal District so that the District knows how much value there is to tax. The more valuable your property is, the more taxes you pay. The Appraisal District says Cooper hasn't been reporting all of its property.
After investigating all of Cooper's taxable property, the Appraisal District says Cooper hasn't reported 763 bus benches worth $750 each. They also say Cooper hasn't reported 24 billboards worth $50,000 each. The Appraisal District says these bus benches and billboards have a total value of nearly $1.8 million.
And according to documents from the Appraisal District, Cooper Advertising owes over $47,000 in unpaid taxes for those benches and billboards over the last three years. That's a total of $143,000.
So we went to Cooper's main office and asked them if they've been hiding value to pay less taxes. We talked with their office manager, Marie Muller. She told us she's been keeping the books for years, and was completely surprised by the Appraisal Districts claims. She added that there was no value that she knew of that was not recorded.
Then Muller showed us all the records that she keeps. She says that all their value is accounted for and that the company plans to call the Appraisal District and fight their claims.
"We're not trying to deceive anybody or not pay what we should be paying, and you know I do every year," Muller says.
Now, Cooper will have 30 days to appeal the Appraisal District's findings, or pay what they're asking for in taxes.
A big point of argument in Cooper's planned appeal will be how much each piece of property is actually worth. For instance, the Appraisal District says that a single billboard is worth $50,000, but the Cooper says that they personally make all their billboards and that they are worth much less than that.
Do you have a tip, information about a breaking news story, or a story idea for 6 Investigates? Contact the KRIS 6 News Desk at 361-884-6666 or send us an email.
Look at photos and videos and share them!
| Desktop Weather
Current forecast, hurricane info, and much more!
|KRISTV.COM Mobile Website
Get KRISTV.com on your mobile or PDA!
|KRISTV.COM Mobile Apps
Get our mobile apps on your mobile or PDA!
See the latest winning numbers!
|6 News Team
Read about your favorite KRIS-TV personalities!
|FCC Online Public File
FCC Public File of Records, Reports, and more