Yes, ALL floating home owners in Oregon need to return this ridiculous tax form.
A floating home is considered Personal Property and is subject to property taxes.
Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 308.290 requires every owner of floating property to file an annual return (the form is called the Confidential Personal Property Form) with the assessor of the county in which property is located.
Floating property owners use a Confidential Personal Property Form to list all taxable floating property which you own, posses, or control.
Each year, the Multnomah County Division of Assessment Recording and Taxation and the and the Columbia County Assessor’s Office will mail every floating home owner a Confidential Personal Property Filing Form. Multnomah County begins mailing out these forms in December and Columbia County begins mailing theirs in January.
If you do not receive a return, it is your responsibility to request a form, and to ensure it is filed timely. If you do not receive this form by the second week in January, call the county tax office at the number below to request another form.
You MUST return this form by March 15th (postmarked by March 15, 2019) in order to avoid penalties.
But what if nothing has changed during the past year regarding my floating home?
YOU STILL NEED TO TURN IN THIS FORM.
Are you sure?
In order to illustrate how important and unforgiving the filing of this form is, we will share our story with you about how we came to learn so much about this form and its penalties and why we don’t want this to happen to you.
We closed on our floating home on March 28th (several years ago), so this floating property form had already been filed for the home that year by its previous owners. Ten months later, in January, we received this unfamiliar tax form for the first time ever. We had never seen it and didn’t know what it was. But we were immediately confused by it for a number of reasons:
- The very top portion of the form references 5%, 25% and 50% penalties of “taxes owed” if you fail to file your return before March 15th. We had just paid our entire tax bill in November – 2 months prior to receiving this notice. So (1) we didn’t owe taxes and (2) penalties of 5%, 25%, or 50% on $0 taxes owed equals $0.
- We noticed the remaining questions it asked did not pertain to us at all.
- “Are you purchasing your floating property on a contract?” Well, no. We had already purchased it, AND it wasn’t on contract.
- “Has the property sold since the last filing?” At this point, we hadn’t realized that the ‘filing’ referred to was this form. We simply thought, no, we haven’t sold the house since we filed our taxes in April of the prior year.
- The form asks to list any renovations or repairs we had made on the house. We had not done anything to the home. So, again, the questions did not apply to us.
We concluded that this form probably didn’t pertain to us at all…but to be certain, we called the Multnomah County Division of Assessment, Recording and Taxation using the phone number listed on the form.
We told the representative who answered the phone that we had received a form in the mail that was warning us about late filing tax penalties and wanted to find out what we needed to do. She looked up our tax records and confirmed that we had paid our taxes and that we owed nothing at this time. She further went on to say that we would receive our next tax bill in the Fall and that we didn’t need to do anything until November when the next tax bill was due.
We then asked the representative again if she was certain, because we had just received a letter that said we were supposed to file a form and indicated that there will be penalties on taxes owed. The representative doubled down and said we’d paid our tax bill and owed nothing.
So we didn’t file the stupid form.
When we received our next tax bill around late-October of that year (9 months later), we found that we owed a nearly $1,000 tax penalty for not filing this form. We tried to appeal it by showing that form was actually incorrectly written because it states that there would be a penally on taxes owed (reasonably read to mean ‘currently’ owed, as opposed to ‘will be’ owed ‘in the future’) and that the form could be improved by stating instead “The late filing penalty will be 5%, 25%, or 50% of the tax you will owe for the fiscal year beginning July 1, if this return is filed after March 15.” And also, because the customer service agent had not been familiar with this form when we called in to inquire about it.
Our appeal was rejected. We paid the nearly $1,000.
The painful lesson learned:
All floating home owners in Oregon MUST fill out and return this form each year, even if there have been no changes to your floating property nor changes in ownership.
Floating Home Owner Pro Tip:
PortlandFloatingHomes.com has created a handy Important Dates printable which is available on the Owners page. Print this information sheet and keep it with your tax records or post it on your calendar so that you never miss this important filing deadline.
The Important Dates sheet covers everything you need to know about two important tax filings in detail:
Floating Personal Property Filing Form: expected delivery dates, deadlines, penalties, county tax department contact information, and more
Floating Property Tax Bill: expected delivery dates, due dates, payment plans, floating property tax contact information, penalties, and more.
For Further Assistance:
Multnomah County Division of Assessment Recording and Taxation (503) 988-3326
Columbia County Assessor’s Office (503) 397-2240
FILING DEADLINE: March 15th. You cannot extend the deadline for filing this form.
PENALTY FOR NOT FILING THE FORM BY MARCH 15: Depending on how late the return is filed, the penalty is based on a percentage and is 5%, 25%, or 50% of your future annual tax bill for the fiscal year beginning on July 1.