April 14, 2011 |

Trailer homes escape taxes

    The Haines Borough Assembly may look at reimposing property taxes on mobile homes.

    Mobile homes previously were taxed under the borough’s business property tax, along with heavy equipment, fishing boats, and other money-making property, until that tax was repealed in 2009.

    Rescinding the tax meant that residents who live in trailers in trailer parks, or who do not put the units on permanent foundations, or on leased land, no longer pay property tax on their units, assembly members were told.  

    The question was raised at a Tuesday assembly committee meeting, during a discussion of requiring registration of mobile homes.

    Assembly members learned that even structures like frame additions to mobile homes may not be taxed.

    “It seems like we have a disparity here, that you can do one thing in one place, but not in another,” said assemblyman Jerry Lapp.

    Resident Debra Schnabel, who raised the issue with the assembly, said the borough defines taxable real estate as trailers permanently attached to the ground.

    “If it’s attached to utilities, it’s attached to the ground… A home is a home,” Lapp said.

    Member Joanne Waterman said there were “a lot of gray areas” surrounding trailers, and that many loopholes could be found in the regulations.

    “Loopholes can be closed,” said member Scott Rossman. “That’s our job.”