For the first time, a Frankfort judge is forcing the state to release information on how it assesses taxes on individuals and businesses.
Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd wrote in an Aug. 26 opinion that the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet must release 700 tax assessments to discern “whether the Department has been fair and consistent or whether it has displayed political favoritism to some taxpayers over others."
The cabinet fought the suit, which was originally brought by Louisville tax attorney Mark Sommer in 2012, claiming the assessments are exempt from state open records laws due to taxpayer privacy concerns. But Sommer says that the ruling will finally shed light on how the state interprets its often ambiguous tax laws.
“I would hope that, for the taxpaying public, more information as to how the state interprets and enforces tax laws, everything else being equal, is better,” said Sommer. “And so with the release of these rulings, we think that, among other things, taxpayer compliance may increase.”
A request for comment from the finance cabinet was not immediately returned.