Taxpayer gets another $17 back from city of St. Louis for court costs

By Sam Knef | Oct 8, 2017

ST. LOUIS — A man who was ordered to pay $177 in court costs in the city of St. Louis' pursuit of $269.87 in delinquent personal property taxes will recover another $17 for overpaying what he was assessed.

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District took up the seven-year-long matter after a St. Louis City Circuit judge ruled that Greg Wiley was entitled to a partial refund – $90 of the $177 – in his battle with the city's Collector of Revenue, according to court documents.

The appeals panel affirmed in part and reversed in part Judge Jason Sengeiser's earlier ruling.

Background information in the ruling states that the collector filed a petition against Wiley on June 30, 2010, for the $269.87 delinquency as well as for $177 in court costs.

Wiley paid both but informed the collector and the city attorney that he was paying the court costs under protest.

On June 16, 2011, the collector dismissed Wiley's complaint with prejudice "noting Wiley had 'tendered Cost of Collector,'" the ruling states.

Initially, the trial court ruled for the collector, and Wiley's appeal followed. At that stage, the appeals court held that Wiley's exclusive remedy for challenging the court costs was by way of a motion to retax costs under Section 514.270.

Wiley followed on July 6, 2016, with a petition to tax or retax court costs.

After a hearing at the trial court, it was determined that the clerk's office taxed 12 various fees making up the $177 total. The trial court found that six of those should not have been assessed to Wiley, and as a result, he was refunded $90.

Wiley's argument has been that he should not be liable for costs that the collector as a plaintiff was statutorily exempt from paying.

In ruling that Wiley should get another $17 refunded, the appeals panel found that he should not have had to pay a $15 court-reporter fee and a $2 publication fee

Justices Gary Gaertner, Robert Clayton III and James Dowd comprised the panel.

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