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UPDATE: Albany manufacturer due more than $1 million sales tax refund

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

The Dougherty County Commission learned Monday that the county and Albany governments and Dougherty School Board will have to refund more than $1 million in sales tax money they collected to a local unidentified manufacturing company.

County Administrator Richard Crowdis told the commission that the county had received notice from the Georgia Department of Revenue regarding a complaint filed by a local manufacturing company that contends the business had unfairly paid sales taxes between 1999 and 2007, he said.

The amount, Crowdis said, was more than $478,000. The city's portion was at least $446,000. School board officials say that October sales tax revenues did dip significantly -- around $400,000, they say -- but it wasn't immediately known if that was due to worsening economic figures or the state withholding their refund amount.

State officials also would not tell the county which manufacturer had filed the complaint.

County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, along with the other commissioners, tasked Crowdis to send a letter to the Revenue Department asking if the county could spread the payments out over an eight-year period since the manufacturer made the sales tax payments yearly.

Kris Newton, the finance director for the city of Albany, said that the state had withheld roughly 52 percent of the city's monthly sales tax revenue to fund the refund.

"It's something significant," she said. "We had no warning that this was coming so it was quite a shock."

The state itself was also subject to refunding sales tax money to the company, although exactly how much it was required to pay back has yet to be disclosed.

Monday, the Herald sent a request for documents related to the refund to the Georgia Department of Revenue, who acknowledged that they had received the request.

Newton said that all she had been told by state officials is that a local manufacturer had undergone a state sales tax audit that revealed manufacturing machinery that it had improperly been paying sales tax on, she said. Georgia law exempts certain types of equipment and equipment that is manufactured here but sold out of state from sales tax collections.