The Napa County grand jury filed court papers Thursday, March 8 ordering the district attorney to initiate legal action against Assessor John Tuteur to recover what it says are about $20,000 in back taxes.
Tuteur learned of the action that afternoon.
“I am happy to have the State Board of Equalization or staff from an assessor’s office in any California county review the challenged assessment,” Tuteur said.
The challenged assessment was done by staff working independently and reviewed by the chief appraiser, Tuteur said. An Assessor’s Office procedure report said this method is used to ensure employee property assessments are done with integrity.
The issue involves property on Green Valley Road that John and Mary Tuteur leased for a cell tower site to Transmission Agency of Northern California from about 1992 through 2016, the court papers said. Cell tower rental income was to be capitalized for property tax assessments.
The Napa County assessor failed to capitalize the rental income correctly from 2008-2015 and the property was under-assessed, the court papers said. In 2016, the assessor discovered the error and attempted to correct the assessment for 2016.
But, the court papers said, the assessor failed to correct the error for 2008-2015. The grand jury says the Tuteurs may owe the county about $20,000 for those tax years, plus interest and any applicable penalties.