Tax Controversy

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Already, thousand of dollars in supplies have been driven off Western Nevada Supply's lot to help launch the Tahoe-Reno Industrial center in Storey County--supposedly the world's largest business park.

At issue is...if supplies are purchased in Washoe County, but delivered to Storey, who should benefit from the sales tax revenue?

"If you were to pick up the material here in our Sparks location, you'd pay Washoe County taxes. If the material is delivered to a different location and that location is in a different county, then you would pay the tax for that specific county," says Jim Dickey, the Credit Manager for Western Nevada Supply.

He says for delivery orders, his company assigns taxes by city codes--not zip codes. And here's a good reason for that: in anticipation of Storey county's new industrial center--that happens to have a Sparks zip code, and therefore a Washoe County zip code--it created a new city code to avoid any confusion.

"We set up a specific code for what we call Patrick. That's a Storey County tax code. So Storey County would get the taxes on anything we ship to Patrick."

Storey County officials agree with Western Nevada Supply's interpretation of the tax law. But not all companies use the same tax distribution system, and that's why the county claims millions of sales tax dollars have been misdirected.

"Either the law is not being actually interpreted or it needs to be changed," says Attorney Bob Sader. He represents Lance Gilman, the developer of the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center.

He's sympathetic to Storey County's financial complaints as he believes they need the money to maintain infrastructure.

"That's the county with the burdens of the construction activity and the services to be provided for that construction activity."

Storey County has asked for an audit of all past construction sales and deliveries. It's also waiting for a hearing with the state's Taxation Department to see if the law can be clarified or simply rewritten.