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Columbus Municipal Airport Charged Additional Property Tax

While aviation-related property is usually tax exempt, land the Columbus airport leases to developers is taxable, according to the Bartholomew County assessor.

The Columbus airport

Photo: Alex Roy / WFIU-WTIU News

Officials at the Columbus airport say they should not be taxed for land it leases.

The Bartholomew County assessor is alleging the Columbus Municipal Airport has not been paying all the taxes it owes. Aviation-related property is tax exempt, according to state code, but the airport also leases out some of its land to developers.

Bartholomew County Assessor Lew Wilson says this land should be taxed.

“The companies do pay taxes on those buildings, so that’s not a problem,” he says. “It’s the land they sit on has become commercially used property for if you would a profit and again as landlords they need to pay taxes on that.”

The taxes last year on non-aviation related property was $30,000. Most of that has since been paid by the airport’s tenants. Columbus Municipal Airport Manager Rod Blasdel says the assessor is misinterpreting the law.

“We basically think they’re all wrong to charge taxes on that land when it is government owned land and basically anything that they collect there goes from one pocket to another in either city or county government,” he says.

Blasdel says he can’t speak for everyone, but he has not heard of any other airports being forced to pay taxes on the land it leases out. The Indiana Board of Tax Review is expected to review the case this summer.

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