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Department of Taxation and Finance

Survey of Railroad and Utility Taxation Practices Among the States: 2005 Update


1. Basis for taxation:

 Basis for taxation
UtilityAd Valorem
Property Tax
Public Utility Tax
on Gross Receipts
Other Tax on
Gross Receipts
Railroads Yes -- -- (b)
Express company Yes -- (a) --
Car company Yes -- (a) --
Airline Yes -- (a) --
Telephone company Yes 4.25% -- (c)
Telegraph company Yes 4.25% -- (c)
Cable television Yes 2.125% -- --
Pipeline Yes -- (a) --
Canal Yes -- -- (b)
Electric company Yes 4.25% -- --
Gas company Yes 4.25% -- --
Water company Yes -- (a) --
Motor carrier Yes -- (a) --
(a) Tax rate varies depending on occupation of company; normal tax - 0.384%.

(b) Net earnings tax - 10%. Capital stock tax - 0.5% of actual cash value, apportioned to state by length of canal. Railroads are exempt from taxation.

(c) Line tax - 60 cents per mile for longest wire in state, 30 cents per mile for next longest, and 20 cents per mile for other wires. Telephone companies must also pay 25 cents per telephone instrument.

2. Property subject to taxation:

Taxable: Real property.

Exempt: Personal property; real property of railroads within right-of-way or roadbed (except buildings).

3. Classification (if applicable):     No.

4. Level of government which determines basis for tax liability - ad valorem property tax:     County Board of Assessment.

5. Report filing and valuation method(s) required by statute for ad valorem taxation:

Reporting Requirements - If requested by the Board of Assessment, the person who owns or controls property liable for assessment must file a report identifying the parcels owned or controlled and giving any other information requested. (This provision applies to all property owners, not just public utilities.)

Valuation Factors - Not stated in statute.

6. Practical application of valuation method(s):     Varies - method locally determined.

7. Valuation treatment of large facilities such as power plants, dams, or rail yards:     Varies - method locally determined.

8. Apportionment method(s) required by statute:

To the state - Not applicable.

Among local units - Not applicable.

9. Practical application or apportionment requirements:

To the state - Not applicable.

Among local units - Not applicable.

10. Apportionment treatment of large facilities such as power plants, dams, or rail yards:     Not applicable.

11. Description of assessment appeals system:     Appeals are first made to local (county) board of assessment review. Further appeals are made at state judicial level.

12. Status of deregulation/restructuring of electric generating and impact on valuation and apportionment methods used:     The Delaware Public Utilities Commission issued final roles for restructuring electric utilities in 1999. To date, there has been no discernable effect on how county assessing units value electric generating plants.

13. State Government Staffing:     None. Delaware has no state assessment of railroad and utility property. Assessments of such property are exclusively at the county level.

Law Source(s):     Revised Delaware Code

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