ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONER: ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT:
STEPHEN E. DEVOE STEVE CARTER
B. KEITH SHAKE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA
HENDERSON DAILY WITHROW Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis, IN TED J. HOLADAY
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
INDIANA TAX COURT
INDIANAPOLIS RACQUET CLUB, INC., )
v. ) Cause No. 49T10-0206-TA-60
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP )
(MARION COUNTY ) ASSESSOR, )
ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF
THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX REVIEW
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
February 6, 2004
The Petitioner, Indianapolis Racquet Club, Inc. (IRC), appeals from a final determination of
the Indiana Board of Tax Review (Indiana Board) valuing its real property for
the 1989 assessment year. IRC claims that the Indiana Board made numerous
errors when, on remand, it applied the General Commercial Industrial (GCI) light warehouse
model base rate to its tennis facility. The Court restates IRCs issues
I. Whether the Indiana Board erred in its failure to adjust IRCs
base rate so as to reflect the absence of certain features presumed in
the GCI light warehouse model;
II. Whether the Indiana Board erred in its failure to adjust the
grade factor assigned to IRCs improvement; and
III. Whether the Indiana Board erred in its failure to adjust the physical depreciation
factor assigned to IRCs improvement. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
IRC owns and operates a commercial tennis club in Washington Township, Marion County,
Indiana. IRCs facility consists of 24 tennis courts (both indoor and outdoor),
a lobby, pro-shop, locker rooms, and various office and retail areas.
In the early 1990s, IRC appealed its 1989 assessment to the State Board
of Tax Commissioners (State Board). In its appeal, IRC claimed, among other
things, that the base rate for its indoor tennis facility was incorrectly determined
using the General Commercial Mercantile (GCM) health club model. IRC argued that
its improvement should have been valued using the GCI light warehouse model.
The State Board denied IRCs claim.
IRC subsequently filed an original tax appeal. This Court, after conducting a
trial, issued a decision in which it recognized that IRC had submitted evidence
showing how the features of its tennis facility were dissimilar to those presumed
in the GCM health club model, as well as how its facilitys features
compared with those presumed in the GCI light warehouse model. See Indianapolis
Racquet Club, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 722 N.E.2d 926, 938-39
(Ind. Tax Ct. 2000), revd on other grounds by 743 N.E.2d 247 (Ind.
2001). Consequently, the Court ruled that,
the evidence shows that the tennis facilitys features clearly better match those of
the light warehouse model than those of the health club model. Therefore,
the Court concludes that IRC has carried its burden to show that the
State Board abused its discretion by applying the wrong model in assessing the
Id. at 939. The Court subsequently remanded the matter for the State
Board to apply the model that most closely resembles the physical structure of
the tennis facility . . . and [to] recalculate the facilitys reproduction costs
based upon that model. Id. at 941. In so doing, however,
the Court stated:
[IRC] is reminded that, on remand, it bears the burden of going forward
with probative evidence . . . concerning the appropriate model to use in
calculating the base rate for the . . . indoor tennis facility at
issue, including but not limited to evidence regarding the proper grade to be
assigned [to] the subject improvement.
Id. (internal citation and footnote omitted).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
On August 16, 2001, the State Board conducted a remand hearing. On
April 17, 2002, the Indiana Board
See footnote issued a final determination in which it
applied the GCI light warehouse model base rate to IRCs building.
IRC filed another appeal with this Court on June 3, 2002, claiming that
when the Indiana Board applied the GCI light warehouse model base rate to
its building, it was required to make several adjustments to the base rate
to account for the fact that the building lacked certain features presumed in
that model. The Court heard the parties oral arguments on October 27,
2003. Additional facts will be supplied as necessary.
This Court gives great deference to final determinations of the Indiana Board.
Wittenberg Lutheran Vill. Endowment Corp. v. Lake County Prop. Tax Assessment Bd. of
Appeals, 782 N.E.2d 483, 486 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2003), review denied. Consequently,
the Court may reverse a final determination of the Indiana Board only if
(1) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law;
contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege, or immunity;
(3) in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, or short of statutory jurisdiction,
authority, or limitations;
(4) without observance of procedure required by law; or
(5) unsupported by substantial or reliable evidence.
Ind. Code § 33-3-5-14.8(e)(1)-(5) (West Supp. 2003). The party seeking to overturn
the Indiana Boards final determination bears the burden of proving its invalidity.
Osolo Township Assessor v. Elkhart Maple Lane Assocs., L.P., 789 N.E.2d 109, 111
(Ind. Tax Ct. 2003).
IRC maintains that when, on remand, the Indiana Board applied the GCI
light warehouse model base rate to its improvement, it failed to make certain,
required adjustments to that base rate. More specifically, IRC explains that, pursuant
to the assessment regulations in effect for the 1989 assessment, the GCI light
warehouse model presumed the presence of concrete floor slabs, interior walls and partitioning,
and a certain type of lighting. (See Petr Br. at 8-11.)
IRC asserts that because its improvement lacks these features, the Indiana Board was
required to adjust the GCI light warehouse model base rate accordingly. In
addition, IRC maintains that the Indiana Board was also required to adjust the
improvements assigned grade factor, as well as its physical depreciation factor.
I. Base Rate Adjustments
Under Indianas true tax value system of property tax assessment, assessors use cost
schedules to determine the base reproduction cost of a particular improvement. Whitley
Prods., Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 704 N.E.2d 1113, 1116 (Ind.
Tax Ct. 1998), review denied. See also Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50,
r. 2.1-4-5 (1992). To help identify and define various classes of buildings,
Indianas assessment regulations have categorized improvements into numerous models based upon their physical
characteristics. See Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-4-7 (1992). See
also Herb v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 656 N.E.2d 890, 893 (Ind.
Tax Ct. 1995) (stating that while the model names are reflective of use,
the model specifications actually reflect the physical features that are incorporated into the
structure). In other words, the improvement models replicate the reproduction costs of
any given structure by assuming the presence of certain construction elements. See
Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-4-3(a) (1992). The assessment regulations provide
that the GCI light warehouse model presumes the following construction elements:
MODEL: GCILIGHT WAREHOUSEFirst [Floor]
Foundation: 12 reinforced concrete perimeter grade walls to 26 high on 12 x 18
strip footings including trench excavation and back-fillA. Concrete Floor Slab
Type 1: Reinforced concrete block with two coats masonry paint for a wall height
Type 2: Common brick on concrete block backup for a wall height of 18
Openings 1% 1 ¾ hollow metal service doors
4% overhead doors
Mechanical and Interior Components
Type: Unfinished, 18 floor height
Partitions 8 hollow concrete block painted one side with a density of 100 S.F.
floor/L.F. partition to a floor height of 18
Lighting 200 Ampere service with panel board and feeders. Fixtures are fluorescent and
include switches and receptacles.
HTG Only Gas fired, hot water boiler with unit heaters
AC Add Single zone electric cooling
50 IAC 2.1-4-7.
The assessment regulations also provide that when an improvement varies from the model,
adjustments must be made to the base price to account for its variations.
Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-4-3(c) (1992). These adjustments can
generally be accomplished via an application of the assessment regulations unit-in-place cost tables.
See Ind. Admin. Code, tit. 50, r. 2.1-4-10 (1992).
As the party challenging the propriety of the Indiana Boards final determination, IRC
bears the burden of proving its invalidity. Elkhart Maple Lane Assocs.,
789 N.E.2d at 111. Thus, to be entitled to a base rate
adjustment, IRC must first submit probative evidence that its building does not contain
construction elements listed in the GCI light warehouse model or that its building
contains construction elements that are not listed in the models. See Barth,
Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 756 N.E.2d 1124, 1129 (Ind. Tax
Ct. 2001). IRC then has the burden to ascertain the cost of
each component based on the assessment regulations. See id.
IRC testified at the remand hearing that its facility does not have a
concrete floor slab; rather, its asphalt tennis courts were placed directly on a
gravel base. (Cert. Admin. R. at 370.) See also Ind. Admin.
Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-4-1 (1992) (stating that the horizontal costs of an
improvement include costs for floor slabs); Ind. Admin. Code, tit. 50, r. 2.1-4-3(a)
(1992) (stating that the cost of a first floor level incorporates the costs
for site preparation, normal foundation construction, and a concrete ground floor slab including
base and cement finish). Accordingly, IRC argued, a significant adjustment  should
be made . . . because of the lack of th[is] feature.
(Cert. Admin. R. at 370.) While the Indiana Board admits
that IRCs facility does not have a concrete floor slab (see Respt Br.
at 6; Oral Argument Tr. at 31), it nonetheless denied the claim because
IRC failed to quantify the amount of any proposed adjustment[.] (Cert. Admin.
During the remand hearing, IRC presented no evidence or argument indicating how much
of an adjustment to which it believed it was entitled. (See Cert.
Admin. R. at 348-433.) After the remand hearing, the Indiana Board hearing
officer gave IRC a second opportunity to present evidence to support its claim.
(See Cert. Admin. R. at 157.) IRC responded:
[IRC] is not aware of a cost factor specified by the  Manual
to be used for this concrete floor. While a concrete floor is
common in this type of building, asphalt can sometimes be used as a
cheaper substitute. Accordingly, [IRC] believes that a reasonable approach would be to
use the cost figure for asphalt parking, namely $.90 per square foot.
(Cert. Admin. R. at 198.)
B. Interior Walls and Partitioning
When a taxpayer challenges its assessment, it is required to make a
detailed factual presentation, supported by probative evidence, relating to the alleged assessment error.
Hoogenboom-Nofziger v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 715 N.E.2d 1018, 1023 (Ind. Tax
Ct. 1999). IRC made no such presentation in this case. First,
it made no reference to the unit-in-place tables
See footnote to determine the cost to
be deducted for the lack of a concrete floor slab.
IAC 2.1-4-10 (stating that the use of the unit-in-place tables is the appropriate
method to make an adjustment for the lack of a concrete floor slab).
See also Barth, 756 N.E.2d at 1129 (stating that taxpayers like IRC
bear the burden of ascertaining the cost of adjustment pursuant to the unit-in-place
Furthermore, IRC provided no explanation as to why the $0.90
per square foot figure was the appropriate figure to use to calculate the
amount of the adjustment. More specifically, the Court notes that the assessment
regulations provide that 2 of asphalt paving on a 5 base is valued
between $0.90 and $1.10 per square foot (depending on the total amount (i.e.,
square footage) of paving). See Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-4-5
(Schedule G) (1992). Consequently, IRC was required to do more than say
use the $0.90 figure. Rather, it was required to present evidence indicating
that its asphalt tennis courts were indeed 2 on a 5 base, as
well as the total amount of paving (square footage) it had. It
did neither. This Court will not now make IRCs case for it.
See Davidson Indus. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm'rs, 744 N.E.2d 1067,
1071 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2001). Because IRC made no case, it receives
Nevertheless, IRC argues that this result should be different. First, it states
that because the Indiana Board has been designated by the legislature as a
repository of the administrative expertise on [assessment] issue[s,] it must be required to
know, and apply, the assessment regulations as written. (See Oral Argument Tr.
at 42; Petr Br. at 9.) As a result, IRC contends it
is absurd to require it to submit evidence as to the proper amount
of the adjustment when the Indiana Board, the States property tax expert, should
have known what the proper adjustment was (i.e., its their manual) (See
Oral Argument Tr. at 36.) Second, IRC argues that when this case
was remanded, the Indiana Board was required to calculate a completely new assessment.
Because IRC had no idea what that new assessment would be, it
could not anticipate whether or not the Indiana Board would make an adjustment
for the lack of a floor slab. (See Oral Argument Tr. at
39.) IRC asserts that because it could not have anticipated the error,
it could not have borne the burden of proof in arguing against the
error. (See Oral Argument Tr. at 42.)
While IRC considers it absurd that it must instruct the Indiana Board, Indianas
property tax expert, as to the content of the assessment regulations, case law
is explicit: a taxpayer, when challenging an assessment, must provide the Indiana
Board with an argument and probative evidence to support its challenge. See
North Park Cinemas, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 689 N.E.2d 765,
769 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1997) (stating that a party adversely affected by an
assessment has an obvious responsibility to . . . present evidence and argument
in support of its position"). The reason for this standard is simple:
it eliminates the possibility that the Indiana Board expends valuable time and
resources building a taxpayers case for it. Indeed, [i]f a taxpayer cares
so little about its case that it does not make a strong factual
case at the administrative level, why should the [Indiana] Board care any more
than the taxpayer? See Hoogenboom-Nofziger, 715 N.E.2d at 1023.
IRC was required to make a detailed factual presentation, supported by probative evidence,
relating to the alleged assessment error to the Indiana Board. See id.
Because IRC declined to do that, its claim for relief must be denied.
See id. at 1024-25 (stating that to allow a taxpayer to prevail
even though it did not meet its burden of proof is, among other
things, patently unfair to other taxpayers who do make detailed presentations).
In addition, IRCs claim that it could not have possibly borne the burden
of proof on remand is misguided. In its remand order, this Court
explicitly stated that IRC bore the burden of proof. Indianapolis Racquet Club,
722 N.E.2d at 941 (emphasis added). Pursuant to this order, it was
up to IRC, at the remand hearing, to present any issue, calculation, argument,
or theory relevant to a proper calculation of its base rate. The
Court cannot now allow IRC a second bite at the apple.
IRC also claims that the Indiana Board was required to make an adjustment
to the GCI light warehouse model base rate to reflect the fact that
its facility does not have interior walls or partitioning. See 50 IAC 2.1-4-7
(describing the GCI light warehouse model partitioning specifications). The Court notes, however,
that the Indiana Board did not address this issue in its final determination.
(See Cert. Admin. R. at 80-101; Oral Argument Tr. at 33.)
After reviewing the administrative record, this Court cannot say that the Indiana Board
At the remand hearing, IRC testified that its facility does not have interior
walls or partitioning. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 369.) IRC never
stated at the remand hearing, however, that it wanted an adjustment to account
for the lack of partitioning. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 348-433.)
Furthermore, when the Indiana Board provided IRC with a second opportunity to present
evidence to substantiate its various claims, IRC did not mention an adjustment for
interior walls and partitioning. (Cert. Admin. R. at 196-201.) In fact,
it appears from the record that IRC did not articulate a claim for
this adjustment until it filed its brief with this Court on January 10,
2003 -- nearly a year and a half after the remand hearing.
This Courts review of Indiana Board final determinations is narrow in scope:
the Court reviews the administrative record to determine whether there is substantial evidence
to support the Indiana Boards final determination. See Ind. Code § 33-3-5-14.8(e)
(West Supp. 2003). The Court will determine that an Indiana Board final
determination is supported by substantial evidence if a reasonable person could view the
record in its entirety and find enough relevant evidenceSee footnote to support the determination.
IRC did not articulate its claim on this issue during the administrative
process. Rather, IRC assumed that the Indiana Board would piece its testimony
together with a request for relief. This was not, however, the Indiana
Boards responsibility. Consequently, the Court cannot say that the Indiana Board erred
when it did not adjust IRCs base rate to account for a lack
of interior walls and partitioning.
Finally, IRC claims that the Indiana Board erred when it failed
to increase its base rate to account for the fact that its facility
had better lighting than presumed in the GCI light warehouse model. To
support its claim, Stephen DeVoe, IRCs President and attorney, provided the following written
statement to the Indiana Board:
With respect to tennis court lighting, I do not have a complete copy
of the 1989 Manual. My recollection was that the lighting information was
contained on the same page as the cost information for tennis courts.
This is page 27 of the General Commercial and Industrial Cost Schedule, a
copy of which I do have and have attached. Obviously, my recollection
was incorrect. Further, the table of contents for this section of the
manual does not show lighting as a separate item. If you were
not to find an item covering this lighting, then my statement that the
1989 manual specifically covers these cost[s] is incorrect. However, the 1979 and
the 1995 Manuals both have specific listings for tennis court lighting as part
of the tennis court cost section[.]
For our indoor courts, there are 26 low cost fluorescent fixtures per court,
each with 6 eight foot fluorescent tubes (we only use 4 at a
time in order to be able to maintain constant lighting levels as tubes
age). The 1979 Manual figures for tennis court lighting are based on
pole lighting which is lower intensity than what we have and accordingly I
believe these cost figures are much too low for our system. On
the other hand I also believe the 1995 Manual figures are about 25%
too high based on 1989 replacement costs so the cost recommended . .
. for these lights is $3,825 for the first court and $3,600 for
the other 15 courts, for a total of $57,825 (this is 75% of
the 1995 Manual figures). [IRC] believes this cost should be included in
the cost computation for the [facility].
On the other hand, these tennis court lights are the only lights in
the area of the building occupied by the 16 indoor tennis courts, so
[IRC] has argued that the normal lighting cost included in the standard per
square foot base cost for these improvements should be deducted. I do
not believe a cost for this adjustment is set forth in the 1979
Manual. [IRC] believes that a reasonable approach for determining the amount of
this deduction would be to determine it by reference to the tennis court
lighting costs noted above. For instance, the light levels on a good
indoor tennis court are about twice the levels in good industrial work areas.
Further, the type of fixtures and tubes are the same so [IRC]
believes a consistent and fair deduction would be 50% of the court lighting
cost used. If this approach is used, the net adjustment to the
standard cost of the building for the lack of lighting in the tennis
court area would be a decrease of $28,913 (50% of the $57,825 cost
for the special tennis court lighting as noted above) or $.30 per square
(Cert. Admin. R. at 196-97 (footnote added).)II. Grade Factor
This written statement is confusing. Furthermore, DeVoe uses numbers from both the
1979 and 1995 assessment manuals to calculate a number applicable to the 1989
assessment. All this mathematical effort is irrelevant: the Indiana assessment regulations
in effect for 1989 clearly state the range for such an adjustment is
between $0.05 and $0.15 per square foot. See 50 IAC 2.1-4-5 (Schedule
See footnote Thus, IRC is asking for a 30% increase in lighting assessment
when the assessment regulations only allow for, at the most, 15%. The
Court, finding that the administrative record does not support a $0.30 increase per
square foot to account for IRCs more abundant lighting, therefore AFFIRMS the Indiana
Boards final determination on this issue.
The grading of improvements is an important part of Indianas property assessment system.
Under that system, assessors apply various grades to improvements based on their
design, workmanship, and quality of materials used in their construction.
Prods., 704 N.E.2d at 1116. See also Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50,
r. 2.1-4-3(f) (1992). The grades represent multipliers that are applied to the
subject improvements base reproduction cost. Whitley Prods., 704 N.E.2d at 1116.
IRC claims that the Indiana Board erred when it failed to adjust its
improvements grade factor from 70% (C-1) to 50% (E+1). (Petr Br. at
14.) See also 50 IAC 2.1-4-5 (Schedule F). The Indiana Board
claims that IRC is not entitled to a grade adjustment because no evidence
or discussion concerning the grade of the tennis facility [was presented]. (Cert.
Admin. R. at 33.) The Court disagrees.
At the remand hearing, IRC presented evidence establishing that: 1) its improvement
is a low-cost, pre-engineered metal building; 2) starting in 1991, the base rates
of these types of buildings were reduced by 50% to account for their
low-cost and the economical quality of material used in their construction (kit building
adjustment); 3) in 1995, the kit building adjustment was incorporated into the assessment
regulations under General Commercial Kit (GCK) Schedule pricing; and 4) starting in 1995,
IRCs improvement was priced under the GCK Schedule. (See Cert. Admin. R.
at 371-75, 406.)
See footnote Consequently, IRC established a prima facie case that
it is entitled to a grade factor equivalent to the 50% kit building
See Bock Prods., Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 683
N.E.2d 1368, 1372 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1997) (stating that since allowances for a
kit building adjustment were effective starting in 1991, for 1989 and 1990 an
equivalent base rate reduction could be accomplished only through a grade reduction).
The Indiana Board failed to rebut IRCs evidence on grade and support
its findings with substantial evidence.
See Hamstra Builders, Inc. v. Dept of
Local Govt Fin., 783 N.E.2d 387, 390 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2003).
Accordingly, the Indiana Boards final determination on this issue is REVERSED.
III. Physical Depreciation Factor
Finally, IRC asserts that the 30-year life expectancy table (as opposed to the
40-year life expectancy table) should have been applied to its building for depreciation
purposes since the property qualifies as a light pre-engineered structure. The Indiana
Board responds that it did not address the issue in its final determination
because it was not an issue on the [original appeal] petition [IRC] filed
for 1989 and [it] was not covered by the [Tax and Supreme] Courts
remands. (Respt Br. at 14.) While the Court agrees with the
Indiana Board in result, it does so for a different reason.
As stated earlier, it is imperative that the taxpayer, when challenging an assessment,
provides the Indiana Board with an argument and probative evidence to support its
challenge. See North Park Cinemas, 689 N.E.2d at 765, 769. Thus,
on remand, this Court expected IRC to present any issues it deemed ancillary
to the application of the appropriate base rate, along with the probative evidence
to support the resolution of those issues. See supra, page 10; North
Park Cinemas, 689 N.E.2d at 769; Clark v. State Bd. of Tax Comm'rs,
694 N.E.2d 1230, 1237 n. 10 (Ind. Tax Ct.1998) (stating that the Indiana
Board does not have the duty to make a case for the taxpayer;
rather it has every right to expect that any errors in an assessment
will be brought to its attention by the taxpayer.) While IRC discussed
its improvements lack of a concrete ground slab; discussed the presence of more
abundant lighting in its facility (albeit ineffectively); and discussed the proper grade factor,
it failed to place the physical depreciation of the subject improvement at issue.
Indeed, IRC never discussed physical depreciation at either the remand hearing or
in its follow-up letter to the Indiana Board. (See Cert. Admin. R.
at 348-433, 196-201.) Therefore, the Court will not reverse the Indiana Board's
final determination for its failure to address the issue of physical depreciation.
For the reasons stated above, the Court AFFIRMS the final determination of
the Indiana Board with respect to Issues I and III. With respect
to Issue II, the Indiana Boards final determination is REVERSED and REMANDED.
On remand, the Indiana Board is directed to instruct the local assessing officials
to adjust IRCs grade factor consistent with this opinion.
Footnote: On December 31, 2001, the legislature abolished the State Board of
Tax Commissioners (State Board). 2001 Ind. Acts 198 § 119(b)(2). Effective
January 1, 2002, the legislature created the Indiana Board of Tax Review (Indiana
Board) as successor to the State Board.
Ind. Code §§ 6-1.5-1-3; 6-1.5-4-1;
2001 Ind. Acts 198 § 95. Thus, when a final determination was
issued on IRCs appeal in April 2002, it was issued by the Indiana
IRC did not cite to the assessment regulations when it claimed
the $0.90 per square foot figure was appropriate. Consequently, this Court expended
valuable time and resources reviewing the assessment regulations in order to determine that
the $0.90 figure was derived from the pricing schedule for yard improvements.
See Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-4-5 (Schedule G) (1992).
Approximately two years after the remand hearing, however, IRC filed a
brief with this Court in which it stated that the unit-in-place tables implied
a reduction of $1.70 per square foot. (
See Petr Reply Br. at
4.) See also Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-4-10 (2.11) (1992).
Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
Amax Inc. Through Amax Coal Co. v. State Bd. of Tax
Commrs, 552 N.E.2d 850, 852 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1990) (citing South Shore Marina,
Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 527 N.E.2d 738, 742 (Ind. Tax
Assuming, however, that IRCs testimony was enough to raise the issue
before the Indiana Board, IRC failed to present any evidence as the amount
of the adjustment under the unit-in-place tables.
See Barth, Inc. v. State
Bd. of Tax Commrs, 756 N.E.2d 1124, 1129 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2001).
IRC bore the burden of ascertaining the amount of the adjustment in order
to make its prima facie case. See id.
The administrative record indicates that IRCs facility is approximately 95,248 square
feet. (Cert. Admin. R. at 17.) $28,913 divided by 95,248 square
feet reflects an adjustment of approximately $0.30 per square foot.
Footnote: That range is applied as follows:
Guidelines for adjusting for lighting are predicated on intensity of illumination and fixture
quality. An adjustment upward or downward is necessary when either or both
of these variables are not normal for a particular use and quality grade.
Scant illumination DEDUCT upper range limit
AND Sub-quality fixtures
Scant illumination DEDUCT lower range limit
OR Sub-quality fixtures
More abundant illumination ADD lower range limit
OR Higher quality fixtures
More abundant illumination ADD upper range limit
AND Higher quality fixtures
Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-4-3(c)(6) (1992).
The GCK cost schedule provides minimal detail in describing the essential
characteristics of a building that qualifies to be assessed under it.
Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.2-11-6 (Schedule A.4) (1996). Before the
State Board amended its regulations to include a GCK cost schedule, certain light,
pre-engineered or kit buildings were given a 50% reduction from the existing cost
schedules to account for the inexpensive construction. See Ind. Admin. Code tit.
50, r. 2.1-4-5 (Schedules A.1 & A.2) (1992). Thereafter, the State Board
issued Instructional Bulletins 91-8 and 92-1 to provide guidance to assessors in determining
which light, pre-engineered buildings qualified for the reduction. See Componx, Inc. v.
State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 741 N.E.2d 442, 444-45 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2000).
For example, these bulletins provide that the key elements used in identifying
a kit building are, simply, the types of interior column and roof beam
support used in the building, which include cold form cee channel supports, tapered
columns, H-columns, and steel pole or post columns. Id. at 447.
Although these bulletins have been superseded by the GCK cost schedule, they still
offer guidance in determining whether a building may qualify to be assessed under
the GCK schedule.
In fact, the Indiana Board declined to address this issue on
two grounds. First, it believed that IRC was not asking for a
grade reduction at all, but rather the kit building adjustment. (
Admin. R. at 43.) As the Indiana Board correctly points out, however,
the kit building adjustment was not available until 1991. (Cert. Admin. R.
at 43 n. 4 (citing Barth, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs,
699 N.E.2d 800, 801 n.1 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998)).)
Second, the Indiana Board stated that with respect to IRCs alternative argument (a
grade reduction equivalent to the kit building adjustment), [g]rade was not an issue
in the remand order . . . and therefore  will not be
addressed. (Cert. Admin. R. at 43 n.4.) This simply is not
true. See Indianapolis Racquet Club, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs,
722 N.E.2d 926, 941 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2000), revd on other grounds by
743 N.E.2d 247 (Ind. 2001).
On a final note: IRC contends that there should .
. . be an affirmative redetermination . . . for 1990,
1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994[.] (Petr Br. at 16.) More specifically,
IRC asserts that while it could be argued that the assessment that results
from this opinion could be carried forward from year to year until the
1995 general reassessment, such a result is not appropriate in this case with
respect to years beginning after 1990 because there are material changes in the
applicable assessing rules and regulations for these later years [i.e., the application of
Instructional Bulletin 91-8]. (Petr Br. at 16.) IRC, however, need not
worry about the application of Instructional Bulletin 91-8 to its subsequent assessments.
In a case handed down simultaneously with this one, the Court addresses the
application of Instructional Bulletin 91-8 to IRCs improvement for the 1991 assessment.
See Indianapolis Racquet Club, Inc. v. Washington Township (Marion County) Assessor, Case No.
49T10-0206-TA-59, slip op. (Ind. Tax Ct. Feb. 6,2004).