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In Virginia, officials in Fairfax County have launched an investigation to find out why some properties in Mount Vernon are not assessed property taxes. The effort stems from an expansion of Mount Vernon Inova Hospital.
When members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors were considering the application, tax attorney Patrick Rea sent a letter asking why the Department of Tax Administration did not assess taxes on any of the property at the hospital -- including office buildings, restaurants and an assisted living facility.
"It creates an unfairness because you're taxing one business and you are not taxing the next business," says Rea. "And that's just poor tax policy and poor tax administration."
That means that doctors who lease office space at the hospital don't pay property taxes as part of their rent while doctors across the street do. And the Sunrise assisted living facility on the campus of the hospital doesn't pay property taxes while other facilities do.
"We are investigating the matter," says Fairfax County Director of Public Affairs Merni Fitzgerald. "So if there's some kind of action that needs to be taken after the investigation has revealed all the facts, then certainly that's something that would be pursued."
If the county determines that some of the properties should have been taxed, Virginia law allows three years of back taxes to be assessed.