Kentucky House after fallout votes to give taxpayers relief on vehicle bills

Published 5:44 am Thursday, February 10, 2022

The Kentucky House voted Wednesday to grant relief to taxpayers hit with hefty increases in their vehicle property tax bills, caused by a pandemic-related surge in used car values.

The measure cruised to House passage on a 95-0 vote, sending it to the Senate.

The vehicle tax measure would change the long-standing method to determine a vehicle’s value. Also under the bill, Kentuckians who already paid vehicle property taxes this year would receive refunds for the increased amount.

Last month, state officials notified county officials that 2022 overall valuation for vehicles would go up about 40%. For many vehicle owners, it meant a big increase in their tax bills.

The tax rate remained the same as previous years, but escalating used vehicle values caused the amount of taxes owed by some to go up, the state revenue department said.

The value of used vehicles soared as new cars became more scarce because of supply chain shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation is a response to the fallout as lawmakers heard complaints from constituents.

“We’ve all received a lot of messages about this bill,” said Republican Rep. Sal Santoro, the measure’s lead sponsor. “So we’re going to try to fix this … problem.”

On Tuesday, when the bill was heard in committee, Republican Rep. Jason Petrie said it would “hold everyone harmless” against increased vehicle appraisals and the resulting higher tax bills.

“So in 2022, you would pay no more tax than you would have paid on the 2021 bill,” said Petrie, the committee chairman.