Taxes keep rubbing resident the wrong way

Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It has been a while since I have vented my frustrations, so please bare with me. Let's start with the one that will affect the most people. I recently noticed I was being billed for Soldotna city sales tax on my residential phone bill. This would be fine and dandy if I actually lived within the city limits, but I do not. It's just that my mailing address says "Soldotna" so they applied the tax. They could only go back a few months to credit my account so I guess the city has got one over on me

I checked my other accounts and what did I find? Yep, they were taxing me as well. Check yours today!

Anyone thinking of getting one of those owner-builder tax cards should think twice. The tax card is somewhat beneficial when buying goods in the construction of your new home or any improvements that you may be making to your existing home, because you can buy them without paying the sales tax.

The one thing they fail to tell you is that as soon as you get a card, they send the information to the assessor's office so your property is then flagged for property tax reassessment. The money they get in property tax far outweighs any you might save on sales tax. Stay away from that card.

For the few of us who own river property and are building, this should be interesting. Every year the borough sends out paperwork telling us we can save money on our property taxes and help the river at the same time. Fix the bank with approved stuff and they will give you a tax break. Sorry your labor is not worth anything, only materials and other people's labor may be used when calculating the tax break.

I am building a new home, doing most of the work myself just to find out that now my labor (according to the assessor) is in fact worth something. As a matter of fact, it appears to be worth a lot since my property tax has doubled each year, three years in a row. If your goal is to tax me out of Alaska, keep it up, your almost there! The tax bill is looking more and more like a mortgage payment.

Now for the last subject: Shopping loyalty. I do not feel I owe any one store more loyalty than the next. My loyalty is to my family and getting the best deal wherever I shop.

That said, I was in the market last fall for five-eighths OSB for the roof of my house. I priced everyone who sold it, and then called stores in Anchorage. Buying seven units of OSB there saved me over $3,500. Why the difference in price? The Home Depot in Anchorage has much better prices than the one here, and they even follow the corporate policy of matching prices and 10 percent if you find a lower price (the Anchorage store manager is even pleasant to speak with and is very helpful unlike the local one who is always combative).

The bottom line is keep your eyes open and watch out for yourself and your family. No one else will.

William J. Keller, Soldotna

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