MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va. Due to a clerical error by the West Virginia Tax Division, additional tax bills are coming to about 2,700 properties that are assessed for oil and gas production. The issue centers around the passage of House Bill 4336 during the 2022 legislative session, which changed the way the valuation of properties is calculated.

The result in Monongalia County is additional tax tickets totaling about $1.2 million for 2,687 parcels.

Frank Capehart from the West Virginia Tax Office explained that proportional valuations should have been done for wells that produce for a portion of the year that came online in 2021, but that was not done in the first year of implementation.

“We failed to do that for the first year of implementation,” Capehart said. “That affected tax year 2023, but only the wells that started production in 2021.”

The largest bills in Monongalia County relate to 2,687 parcels that will be billed an extra $1.2 million.

“The differences are widely varied depending on when those wells started production in the year,” Capehart said. “If the wells started near the beginning of the year, the annualization impact is minimal; it’s still there, but for the wells that started in December, it’s really substantial.”

The extra bill for 1,864 of the properties will add up to less than $10.

“Most of the parcels are a very nominal amount, but the majority of the bigger items only account for about 200 of the actual parcels that account for a large portion of the change,” Monongalia County Commission President Sean Sikora said.

Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Taxpayer Engagement, Emily Cramer told commissioners this was not at all a county problem and there was no way for local assessors to identify the problem. But, in comparison to Tyler County where the mistake totals $15 million, Monongalia County commissioners are slightly relieved.

“As soon as we discovered the clerical error on top of determining the county parcel impact, we also made sure to enact cross-checks in our own system so this error could not occur again,” Cramer said.

Commissioner Tom Bloom acknowledged that additional tax tickets are going out at a time when important ballot issues will be on the minds of taxpayers.

“In Monongalia County, we have four levies and a school bond issue that are coming in a couple of months, and this was just not the time to make this mistake,” Bloom said. “If it had been at least put in with the other tax ticket, it would have been one thing.”

County assessors in Brooke, Doddridge, Harrison, Marshall, Pleasants, Tyler, and Wetzel Counties are also dealing with the issue. Monongalia County is the first county in the state to agree to a resolution plan.