L.H. CARBIDE CORP., ) ) Petitioner, ) ) v. ) ) STATE BOARD OF TAX COMMISSIONERS, ) ) Respondent. )oral argument on the State Board's Motion to Dismiss. On January 13, 1992, Carbide filed Form 133 Petitions for the Correction of Errors for the tax years 1989, 1990, 1991 with the Auditor of Allen County, Indiana (County).See footnote 1 See Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-15-12 (West 1989) (amended 1993, 1995 & 1997). The petitions were not acted on for more than five years and were never forwarded by the County to the State Board. (Brooks Aff. at 1). On January 6, 1997, Carbide filed an original tax appeal in this Court. The State Board filed a Motion to Dismiss claiming
ORDER March 19, 1998 On February 26, 1998, the Petitioner, L.H. Carbide Corporation (Carbide ), and the Respondent, the State Board of Tax Commissioners (State Board ), appeared before the Court for
that Carbide failed to exhaust its administrative remedies and thus this Court lacks jurisdiction.
The State Board argues that two steps must occur in the administrative appeal process with
regard to 133 petitions before [this] Court is vested with subject matter jurisdiction. First, the
State Board must receive the form 133. Second, the State Board must issue a final determination
upon it. (Resp't Mot. to Dismiss at 4). The State Board claims that it has not received a Form
133 from the County and that Carbide has never received a final determination from the State
Board. Therefore, Carbide has not exhausted its administrative remedies and this Court does not
have jurisdiction to hear this matter.
Carbide argues that this Court has jurisdiction based on the State Board's failure to act and this Court's decision in Bielski v. Zorn, 627 N.E.2d 880 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1994). In Bielski, this Court held that the failure of the State Board to review a petition constitutes a final determination. Id. at 885.
As a starting point in its analysis, this Court notes that it is dealing with its subject matter jurisdiction. This Court has exclusive jurisdiction over any case that arises under the tax laws of this state and that is an initial appeal of a final determination of the State Board or the Department of Revenue. See Ind. Code Ann. § 33-3-5-2(a) (West 1996). However, in this instance both the County and the State Board have failed to issue a final determination. This inaction by the County and the State Board has erected a barrier to Carbide's ability to have errors in its assessment corrected. No statutes or regulations provide a resolution for instances where a county has failed to act on a Form 133 petition or forward a Form 133 petition to the State Board.
Taxpayers have a statutory right to have errors in their assessment corrected. See Ind.
Code Ann. § 6-1.1-15-12. Through the inaction of the County, Carbide's statutory right has
been ignored. The State Board asks this Court to dismiss Carbide's petition because the County
has not acted and the State Board itself has not issued a final determination. (Resp't Mot. to
Dismiss at 4). This would put the statutory rights of the taxpayer at the mercy of County and
State Board inaction.See footnote
Cf. Zakutansky v. State Bd. of Tax Comm'rs, 64T10-9410-TA-00227,
slip op. at 4-5 (Ind. Tax Ct. February 13, 1998). Such a result is absurd. Id. The legislature
could not have intended to allow inaction on the part of the County and the State Board to
effectively eliminate a taxpayer's right to have errors in an assessment corrected.
The Court having heard the argument of counsel and being duly advised in the premises now finds that both parties have failed to pursue a resolution of the issue at hand. In short, neither party has insisted that the County act on the Form 133 petitions filed by Carbide. Carbide has failed to insist that the County act and has allowed more than five years to elapse without following up on its Form 133 filings. The State Board, having been advised of the inaction by the County by the filing of Carbide's original tax appeal, failed to assist Carbide in requesting that the County act on the Form 133 petitions.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Thomas G. Fisher, Judge
Indiana Tax Court
David L. Pippen
Dickinson & Abel
8900 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1095
Indianapolis, Indiana 46240
Jeffrey A. Modisett
Attorney General of Indiana
By: Vincent Mirkov
Deputy Attorney General
Indiana Government Center South, 5th Floor
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2770
Converted from WP6.1 by the Access Indiana Information Network