Oneida County Joins Rhinelander To Oppose "Dark Store" Loophole

Mar 21, 2017

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Add Oneida County to the growing list of local governments opposed to a tax loophole which could cost residential property taxpayers more money. Called the "Dark Store" loophole, it allows big box stores to say their property tax values are half of what the local governments say they are, as they allow comparable valuation on buildings that are no longer stores, hence the name Dark Store.

The city of Rhinelander has had challenges under this loophole, the latest being with Menards.

Supervisor Alex Young, also a Rhinelander city council member, says legal firms are coming forward with offers...

"....this has become a big enough issue, I love lawyers, but there are firms and consultants that specialize in this on a contingency basis where they say they'll look at your tax situation and say we won't get paid unless we get refund check or get you some money. We currently have this situation with Menards in the city...."

Young says the loophole allows a greater tax burden to be shifted to others...

"....right now the burden, in terms of property taxes, 70 percent of that burden is on homeowners. Every time one of these tax strategies becomes popular, it shifts the burden further to residential homeowners. The argument here is that is just fundamentally unfair...."

The city of Rhinelander passed a similar resolution. The board unanimously passed a resolution asking the legislature to close the loophole. Indiana and Michigan legislatures have passed similar changes.