Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Natural Gas Car Drivers Ordered to Repay State Rebates
(KUTV) Imagine qualifying for a government rebate only to have the government come back years later and demand the money back. That's the situation facing a Pleasant Grove man who says state officials are changing the rules.
Dan Postenlnicu's car runs on natural gas. In 2008 he qualified for a tax credit. Natural gas is a cleaner fuel that pollutes less so Utah lawmakers decided to reward people who buy natural gas cars by awarding those drivers rebates.
According to the State Tax Commission form Dan filled out in 2008, Dan qualified for a $2967.50 rebate, which he received. Now, five years later, Dan is being told to pay that money back.
Dan says he has tried to show the state his signed paperwork from the state Division of Air Quality offering his rebate, but he says officials have refused to listen.
"I'm trying to be an honest tax payer", Dan said.
The Clean Fuel Tax forms changed after 2008. The form Dan filled out asks him to list the "incremental cost of vehicle." By 2009, the form was asking for the "vehicle purchase price." The reason the forms changed is that the law changed. By today's law, Dan would not qualify for such a big rebate. But Dan didn't apply under today's law, he applied under the 2008 law, so he wants to know why hes being held to the new standard.
Tax Commission spokesperson Charlie Roberts said that, "perhaps [the 2008 form] could have been clearer;" but he says that the commission is standing by their decision to collect what he calls and "overpayment" to Dan because the commission is enforcing the law as written.
When Roberts was asked why Dan was being held to the new standard as opposed to the old standard, he said, "If [people] feel that they're not being treated fairly for whatever reason then they can appeal [the commissions decision]."
Dan says he will appeal. He will take his argument before the tax commission appeals board next month.
Utah's current Lieutenant Governor, Greg Bell, wrote the original law offering rebates when he was in the state legislature. Get Gephardt called his office to ask whether or not he thought it was fair that Utahans who qualified under the old law should now be punished because the law has been changed. He declined to comment.
This isn't an isolated issue impacting only Dan. Get Gephardt heard from several people who said they too have been contacted by the Utah State Tax Commission demanding they repay their rebates.
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Michelle Poe
Edited by Ryan Malavolta
Photography by David Yost and Dan Dixon
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)