Error found in how Lake Stevens recorded real estate excise taxes

  • Wed Feb 3rd, 2016 8:54pm
  • News

Herald staff

LAKE STEVENS — State auditors recently found an error in how Lake Stevens officials recorded millions of dollars in real estate excise taxes.

Financial and accountability audits released by the state last week found no problems with how the city’s money was managed, but a separate management letter from auditors noted one mistake.

The excise taxes are supposed to be recorded as “reserved” money because they have limited uses. Instead, the city reported the amounts, ranging from $4.3 million to $6.5 million between 2013 and 2014, as “unreserved.” The error happened because the state changed how excise taxes are reported a few years ago but the city didn’t update its reporting, interim city administrator Mary Swenson said. The error didn’t cost the city any money, she said.

“Nothing was spent,” she said. “The dollar amounts were all correct, they were just put in the wrong column.”

The mistake has been corrected, according to the state auditor’s office.