Jefferson County pondering occupational tax refund appeal

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A judge has ruled that Jefferson County will have to refund almost $48 million of occupational tax revenue to taxpayers. Now the question will be whether or not the county commission will appeal the ruling.

What this all means is that taxpayers in Jefferson County could be getting anywhere a $150 to $200 refund from the county commission, but when they could be getting this money is still not known.
Judge David Raines made his ruling late Wednesday that Jefferson County must refund the $48 million to taxpayers. This ruling is a victory for those taxpayers who sued the county who called the old occupational tax illegal and unconstitutional.

On top of the $48 million, the county will also owe the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest on that money.

Judge Raines says the county now has 15 days to transfer $10 million dollars plus interest to be moved into a settlement fund.

If the county wants to fight Judge Raines ruling, they can but it will end up costing them nearly $500,000 dollars a month.

Commission President Bettye Fine Collins has hope for the New Year. "I really believe 2010 will be a better year. I think it's a miracle that we've survived 2009 and have not been forced into bankruptcy. I think that's something the county and its citizens should celebrate."

When it comes to refunding the occupational tax money to taxpayers, Commissioner Collins said she is still leaving open the option of appealing to the Alabama Supreme Court.