Political Spotlight Heats Up for Nevada Mining Tax

Source: Mineweb, Dorothy Kosich  (3/21/11)

"Nevada Tax Commission scheduled an emergency meeting regarding the state's failure to audit mining companies for the past two years."

As a Nevada assemblywoman is poised to introduce a bill capping net proceeds of mines deductions, the Nevada Tax Commission has scheduled an emergency meeting Monday regarding the state's failure to audit mining companies for the past two years.

Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce, D-Las Vegas, will introduce a bill that will cap the value of legally deductible expenses at 40%, which could cost the state's mining industry more than $2B in tax deductions.

"The 30-year experiment in radically small government in Nevada has run into the worst economy in 70 years, and we have a crisis," Pierce said.

Bob Fulkerson, state director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, claimed, "Mining is legally exploiting the state of Nevada thanks to a system of sweetheart tax loopholes and its protected status in the Nevada Constitution."

However, Fulkerson contended, "Because of these allowable deductions, it is doubtful that an audit will turn up any hanky panky from the gold miners' tax reports. Why would they want to cheat Nevada when they can take from the people legally?"

Both Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, and Senator Majority Leader Steven Horsford, a Democrat, have called for state audits of mining taxation.

Nevada Mining Association President Tim Crowley recent said the NMA also support the governor's effort "to re-establish a consistent and thorough state auditing system of our industry."

During Monday's emergency meeting, the Nevada Tax Commission is expected to hear plans by the interim executive director on both short-term and long-term audits of mining. Former state taxation director Dino DiCianno abruptly retired earlier this month after he told a legislative committee hearing no one had been trained to audit the mining industry's net proceeds tax returns for at least two years.

Deputy Director Chris Nielson was appointed interim director of the department.
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