ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER:
LESLIE STEAD
PRO SE
Indianapolis, IN

ATTORNEYS FOR THE RESPONDENT:
STEVE CARTER
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA
Indianapolis, IN

LINDA I. VILLEGAS
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
Indianapolis, IN


_____________________________________________________________________
IN THE INDIANA TAX COURT
_____________________________________________________________________

LESLIE STEAD,                                                             )
                                                                               )
Petitioner,                                                                    )
                                                                               )
    v.                                                                         )   Cause No. 49T10-0002-TA-15
                                                                               )
DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL                                                            )
GOVERNMENT FINANCE, See footnote         )
                )
    Respondent.            )    
                                    

ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION
OF THE STATE BOARD OF TAX COMMISSIONERS

                                 _____

NOT FOR PUBLICATION
April 4, 2003

FISHER, J.
Leslie Stead (Stead) appeals the final determination of the State Board of Tax Commissioners (State Board) valuing his commercial improvement for the March 1, 1995 assessment. The sole issue is whether the State Board erred when it used the gasoline service station schedule to assess Stead’s improvement. See footnote For the reasons stated below, the Court AFFIRMS the State Board’s final determination.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Stead owns a motor vehicle repair shop commercial improvement in Center Township, Marion County, Indiana. For the 1995 assessment, Stead’s improvement was assessed at $27,030 under the General Commercial Mercantile (GCM) auto service schedule. Stead appealed his assessment to the Marion County Board of Review (BOR). The BOR reassessed Stead’s improvement using the gasoline service station schedule, which lowered Stead’s assessment to $17,870. Still unsatisfied, Stead appealed the BOR’s determination to the State Board. At the State Board hearing, Stead argued that his improvement should have been assessed using the General Commercial Industrial (GCI) commercial garage schedule. On December 27, 1999, the State Board issued a final determination denying Stead relief.
On February 9, 2000, Stead initiated an original tax appeal. The Court held a trial on May 22, 2000. Additional facts will be supplied as needed.
ANALYSIS AND OPINION
Standard of Review

This Court gives great deference to the final determinations of the State Board when it acts within the scope of its authority. Thousand Trails, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 757 N.E.2d 1072, 1075 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2001). This Court will reverse a final determination of the State Board only when its findings are unsupported by substantial evidence, arbitrary, capricious, constitute an abuse of discretion, or exceed statutory authority. Id.
Furthermore, a taxpayer who appeals to this Court from a State Board final determination bears the burden of showing that the final determination was invalid. Id. The taxpayer must present a prima facie case by submitting probative evidence, i.e., evidence sufficient to establish a given fact that, if not contradicted, will remain sufficient. Id. Once the taxpayer presents a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the State Board to rebut the taxpayer’s evidence and support its findings with substantial evidence. Id.
Discussion

The sole issue is whether the State Board erred in using the gasoline service station schedule See footnote to assess Stead’s improvement. Stead argues that his improvement should have been assessed using the GCI commercial garage schedule.See footnote The State Board, on the other hand, argues that Stead did not submit probative evidence to support his claim. The State Board is correct.
Under Indiana’s property tax assessment system, assessors use cost schedules to determine the base reproduction cost of a particular improvement. See Whitley Prod., Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 704 N.E.2d 1113, 1116 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998) review denied.  A taxpayer is entitled to have his property assessed using the correct cost schedule. Indianapolis Racquet Club, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 722 N.E.2d 926, 937 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2000), remanded on other grounds by 743 N.E.2d 247 (Ind. 2001). To demonstrate that the State Board erred in using a particular cost schedule, a taxpayer must submit probative evidence to establish that another schedule was more appropriate. See id. at 939.
At the State Board hearing, Stead submitted the property record card of a service station in a neighboring township that had been assessed using the GCI commercial garage schedule. See footnote (Pet’r Ex. E.) Stead argues that his improvement and the service station are comparable because neither is a commercial franchise; thus, Stead contends that his improvement should have been assessed pursuant to the same schedule used to assess the service station. (Original Tax Appeal Notice of Claim at 5.) However, Stead’s reasoning misses the mark.
Whether properties are comparable depends on whether the properties possess sufficiently similar features. See Blackbird Farms Apartments, LP v. Dep’t of Local Gov’t Fin., 765 N.E.2d 711, 714 (Ind. Tax 2002) (citing Beyer v. State, 280 N.E.2d 604, 607 (Ind. 1972)). Here, Stead merely argues that the service station and his improvement are comparable because neither is a commercial franchise. However, in Indiana improvements are assessed according to their physical characteristics, not their use or type of ownership. See footnote See CGC Enterprises v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 714 N.E.2d 801, 804 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1999). Consequently, Stead has not shown that his improvement and the service station are comparable, nor has he submitted any evidence indicating that State Board erred in using the gasoline service schedule. See footnote
CONCLUSION

Stead has not shown that his improvement and the service station are comparable, nor has he submitted probative evidence showing that the State Board erred in using the gasoline service station schedule. Therefore, Stead has not made a prima facie case that the State Board erred in assessing his improvement. Accordingly, the Court AFFIRMS the State Board’s final determination.



Footnote: The State Board of Tax Commissioners (State Board) was originally the Respondent in this appeal. However, the Legislature abolished the State Board as of December 31, 2001. 2001 Ind. Acts 198 § 119(b)(2). Effective January 1, 2002, the Legislature created the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) and the Indiana Board of Tax Review (Indiana Board). Ind. Code §§ 6-1.1-30-1.1; 6-1.5-1-3 (West Supp. 2001); 2001 Ind. Acts 198 §§ 66, 95. Pursuant to Indiana Code § 6-1.5-5-8, the DLGF is substituted for the State Board in appeals from final determinations of the State Board that were issued before January 1, 2002. Ind. Code § 6-1.5-5-8 (West Supp. 2001) (eff. 2002); 2001 Ind. Acts 198 § 95. Nevertheless, the law in effect prior to January 1, 2002 applies to these appeals. I.C. § 6-1.5-5-8. See also 2001 Ind. Acts 198 § 117. Although the DLGF has been substituted as the Respondent, this Court will still reference the State Board throughout this opinion.

Footnote: Stead also raises the issues of land valuation and obsolescence. However, nothing in the record indicates that these issues were first raised at his hearing before the State Board. “The Court's scope of review precludes the Court from considering issues . . . not presented to the State Board.” Fleet Supply, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 740 N.E.2d 598, 599 n.1 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2000). Stead also argues that his assessment violates Article 10 section 1 of the Indiana Constitution. Given the holding in this case, however, the Court need not reach this issue.

Footnote: Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.2-13-8.

Footnote: Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, rr. 2.2-11-2(1); 2.2-11-5.1(a)(6)(B).

Footnote: At trial, Stead attempted to introduce evidence that he never presented to the State Board during his hearing. “The Court's scope of review precludes the Court from considering . . . evidence not presented to the State Board.” Fleet Supply, 740 N.E.2d at 599 n.1.

Footnote: Furthermore, just because a feature is absent from two properties does not necessarily mean that the remaining features are sufficiently similar so as to make the properties comparable.

Footnote: Stead argued in the alternative that his improvement should have been assessed using the “small private garage” schedule. It appears that Stead really means that his improvement should have been assessed using the GCM utility storage schedule, which is used to assess “[s]mall private garages[.]” See Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.2-11-5.1(a)(6)(E). In any event, Stead offered no evidence to support this argument.