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Chevron facing more taxes on Richmond refinery after trying to get them lowered

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POSTED April 3, 2012 7:25 p.m.

RICHMOND  (AP) — Chevron Corp. owes additional taxes on its refinery in Richmond because Contra Costa County undervalued the facility by hundreds of millions of dollars, a county assessment appeals board has ruled.

The Assessment Appeals Board made the decision Monday while rejecting Chevron's contention that it actually owed less in tax bills from 2007 through 2009. Chevron claimed the county had inflated the value of the refinery, leading to higher tax bills during those years.

The appeals board disagreed, saying the county had in fact undervalued the refinery by 10 to 23 percent in each of those years.

The board raised the refinery's fair market value to $3.7 billion in 2007, $4.4 billion in 2008 and $3.8 billion in 2009, the Contra Costa Times reported.

As a result, Chevron is now facing an estimated $26.7 million in additional taxes, according to the newspaper.

Public officials welcomed the decision. The county could have been on the hook for as much as $73 million in refunds to Chevron if the board had ruled in the company's favor, the newspaper said.

"Clearly, it's a relief for local governments in Contra Costa," county Supervisor John Gioia told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Chevron spokesman Sean Comey told the Chronicle the company is assessing its options.

"We're committed to paying our fair share in taxes, but we need a fair and transparent process going forward," he said.

The company and the county have long been at odds over tax assessments.

San Ramon-based Chevron won an $18 million refund of taxes it paid for several years through 2006. It has also appealed its 2010 and 2011 assessed values. Hearings on that appeal are set to start on April 16.


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