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Homeowner to get $20k back after tax bill mistake

Posted at 5:16 PM, Nov 07, 2016

JOHNSON COUNTY -- A Bargersville homeowner is relieved to be getting $20,450.67 coming back into her pocket after a tax mistake that lasted 14 years.

“I can smile again,” said Cheryl Beck, a longtime Bargersville resident and homeowner. “It’s wonderful, it’s such a relief.”

Cheryl Beck unknowingly paid her neighbor’s property taxes since 2002.

When a realtor brought the mistake to Beck’s attention in August, Beck contacted the Johnson County Auditor and Assessor in the hopes of getting her money back.

However, Beck said they offered only three years’ worth of overpaid taxes as a refund.

Her family contacted Call 6 Investigates for help in resolving the matter, and Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney learned the White River Township Assessor made the error back in 2002.

The township office accidentally included Beck’s neighbor’s house, garage and sheds in its assessment, and as a result, Beck was charged for the neighbor’s structures on her property tax bills.

Beck thought she was paying taxes on her 30 acres of land and a barn, but in reality she was also paying for her neighbor’s property taxes.

After Call 6 Investigates aired a story about Beck’s plight, the Johnson County Auditor issued a November 3 letter in which the county agreed to give Beck $4,964.26 in cash refund and $15,486.41 in future tax credits.

The neighbor, also Beck’s sister-in-law, will have to pay $3,612.94 in omitted taxes, according to Johnson County Assessor Mark Alexander.

“I am sorry the error occurred and sorry our office did not discover the error until it was brought to our attention by the property owner,” said Alexander.

Alexander said at the current tax rate, it would take 14 years for Beck to get the $15,486.41 in future tax credits.

Beck is currently age 67, and would be 81 years old at that point.

“The first thing that came to my mind, is take what you can get, and go with it,” said Brandi Kernel, Cheryl’s daughter. “I’m very glad you guys came out and were able to help.  I feel very blessed.”

Although Beck would prefer the money up front, it’s better than nothing.

“Somebody needs to be on your side,” said Beck.  “It just really bothers me. That was my money.”

Beck is looking to sell the property because her children are now grown.

The Johnson County Assessor said he’s researching how selling the property would impact the future tax credits.


RELATED: Johnson County homeowner pays neighbors taxes for 14 years by mistake