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Uncertainty Surrounds Disbursement of Pinal County's Transportation Tax Funds


Following the Arizona Supreme Court's decision in Vangilder v. Arizona Department of Revenue, 252 Ariz. 481 (2022) to nullify Pinal County's transportation excise tax, questions have arisen regarding the fate of the collected tax money. While a refund program was briefly mentioned on after the court's decision, the path forward remains unclear.

Both the Arizona Department of Revenue (the Department) and the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority (PRTA) have been inundated with legislative suggestions, voter-driven proposals, and judicial ideas regarding the best methods for allocating or returning the accumulated funds. Due to the possibility of a major shift in the allocation approach based on any of these proposals, the Department opted for a wait-and-see stance.

However, with the legislative session concluding on July 31 without definitive legislation on the matter, the next steps regarding the money remain undecided. The Department has acknowledged its potential role in future attempts to square the accounts for taxpayers who paid the now-invalid tax. Yet, they have also expressed the importance of allowing PRTA the freedom to determine its preferred resolution method and how to finance necessary services, including any role the Department might play.

As of now, any refund requests related to the Pinal County transportation tax are on hold until the PRTA decides on the funds' final allocation. The collected funds from the invalidated tax have been placed in an interest-earning escrow account managed by the Pinal County Treasurer, following the guidelines of PRTA Resolution 2018-01 from February 22, 2018. The Department has given its consent for the funds' release and has passed the control and custody solely to the PRTA.
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Friday, 14 June 2024

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