PETITIONER APPEARING PRO SE: ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT:
RANDALL COLE KAREN M. FREEMAN-WILSON
Tell City, Indiana ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA
    Indianapolis, Indiana

TED J. HOLADAY
Deputy Attorney General
Indianapolis, Indiana

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     IN THE INDIANA TAX COURT
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WRC COMPANY BY RANDALL     )
COLE    )
)
Petitioner,    )
)
v.    ) Cause No. 49T10-9809-TA-115
)
STATE BOARD OF TAX     )
COMMISSIONERS     )
    )
Respondent.     )    
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ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE STATE BOARD OF TAX COMMISSIONERS

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May 23, 2000
NOT FOR PUBLICATION

FISHER, J.
The petitioner, WRC Company (WRC), appeals the final assessment determination of the State Board of Tax Commissioners (State Board) for the 1995 tax year. See footnote In its original tax appeal, WRC raises two issues:
Whether the State Board applied an incorrect negative influence factor on its land for the 1995 tax year.

Whether the State Board erred when it did not classify WRC’s building as a kit building.

For the reasons explained below, the Court affirms the State Board’s final assessment determination.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

    WRC’s property is located in Perry County, Indiana. On August 14, 1996, WRC filed its Form 130 Petition for Review with the Perry County Board of Review (BOR) for the 1995 tax year, in which WRC alleged that an 80% negative influence factor should be applied to its land instead of 25%, and that its building qualified as a kit building. On January 6, 1997, the BOR issued its final assessment determination, denying WRC’s claims. WRC then filed its Form 131 Petition for Review with the State Board on February 5, 1997. On September 8, 1998, the State Board affirmed the BOR in its final assessment determination. On September 28, 1998, WRC filed this original tax appeal, after which a trial was held on February 24, 1999. Additional facts will be supplied where necessary.
ANALYSIS AND OPINION
Standard of Review

The State Board is given great deference when it acts within the scope of its authority. See Barth, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 699 N.E.2d 800, 801 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998). Accordingly, this Court reverses State Board final determinations only when those determinations are unsupported by substantial evidence, are arbitrary or capricious, constitute an abuse of discretion, or exceed statutory authority. See id. at 801-02.
Discussion
1. Negative Influence Factor

    WRC first argues that an 80% negative influence factor should be applied to its land instead of the original 25% factor allowed by the State Board. Land values in a given neighborhood are determined through the application of a Land Order. See Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.2-4-10(a)(9) (1996); see also Phelps Dodge v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 705 N.E.2d 1099, 1105 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1999) review denied. Land Orders are developed by collecting and analyzing comparable sales data for a neighborhood. See Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-4-13.6 (West 1989); Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.2-4-10 (1996); see also Talesnick v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 693 N.E.2d 657, 659 n.5 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998). The County Land Valuation Commission studies the sales data and recommends a range of values for the property in a neighborhood. See Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-4-13.6; see also Phelps Dodge, 705 N.E.2d at 1105. The State Board then sets the final values in a Land Order. See Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-4-13.6 (West 1989) (amended 1993 & 1997); see also Wirth v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 613 N.E.2d 874, 878 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1993).
    Influence factors may be used by the assessor and the State Board to adjust the values for properties that possess certain features that make those properties unique. See Phelps Dodge, 705 N.E.2d at 1105. “An . . . influence factor is justified in instances where property has a ‘condition peculiar to the land that dictates an adjustment, either positive or negative . . . to account for variations from the norm.’ ” Talesnick, 693 N.E.2d at 660 (quoting Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.2-4-10) (1996). In order to apply an influence factor, the assessor must identify deviations from the norm in the subject property. See Phelps Dodge, 705 N.E.2d at 1105. These deviations are expressed as a percentage that reflects the composite effect of the factor or factors that influence the value. See Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-2-1.
    In order to successfully challenge a final assessment determination, a taxpayer is required to make a prima facie case at the administrative level supporting its contention. See Clark v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 694 N.E.2d 1230, 1233 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998). Influence factors may be quantified by the use of market data in order to reflect the deviation from market value assigned a piece of property through the Land Order. See Phelps Dodge, 705 N.E.2d at 1106. Once the taxpayer establishes a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the State Board to rebut the taxpayer’s case with substantial evidence. See id. To establish a prima facie case, the taxpayer must do more than allege that an error exists. See Whitley Prods., Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 704 N.E.2d 1113, 1119 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998). Rather, the taxpayer must introduce evidence sufficient to establish a given fact, which if not contradicted will remain sufficient. See Clark, 694 N.E.2d at 1233.
In the present case, WRC introduced evidence showing that in a 1996 State Board determination of a previous appeal, WRC’s property had been given an 80% negative influence factor. See footnote (Pet’r. Ex. 8.) WRC argues that since an 80% negative influence factor was applied to its property once before, it is entitled to the same factor in this case. WRC is mistaken. The Court notes that in original tax appeals, each assessment and each tax year stands alone. See Foursquare Tabernacle Church of God in Christ v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 550 N.E.2d 850, 853 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1990). The fact that WRC’s land received an 80% negative influence factor in one year is not necessarily indicative of the influence factor for a subsequent reassessment.
    The 80% negative influence factor given the property for the 1989 tax year was to account for the land’s irregular shape and for the fact that no building existed on the property. (Pet’r Ex. 8.) (Trial Tr. at 42.) This is no longer the case. See footnote The State Board claimed that the negative influence factor was reduced to 25% for the 1995 tax year because a building had been erected on the land. (Trial Tr. at 88-89.) The State Board argued that since a building now existed on WRC’s land, an 80% negative influence factor was no longer warranted. (Trial Tr. at 89.) WRC did not present any other evidence to support its contention that it is entitled to an 80% negative influence factor. Since WRC failed to establish a prima facie case, the State Board was not required to rebut WRC’s claim. See Phelps Dodge, 705 N.E.2d at 1106. The Court affirms the State Board’s findings on this issue.
2. Kit Building Adjustment

    WRC’s second argument states that its property was entitled to a kit building adjustment. The State Board has issued an instructional bulletin, in which various aspects of kit buildings are discussed. See Instructional Bulletin 91-8 (1991). Kit buildings are generally lightweight and are made of inexpensive materials. See King Indus. Corp. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 699 N.E.2d 338, 339 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998). Common characteristics of kit buildings include Cold Form Cee Channel wall supports, tapered roof beams and round steel columns. See id. at 339. If a building qualifies as a kit building, it is entitled to a 50% reduction in the base rate. See Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.2-11-6 (Schedule A4) (1996) (listing base rates for kit buildings); see also King Indus. Corp., 699 N.E.2d at 339. However, the instructional bulletin notes that if the additional features of the kit building result in the building no longer being economical, it cannot qualify for the kit adjustment. See Instructional Bulletin 91-8 at 7.
    This Court has stated that Instructional Bulletin 91-8 directs the inquiry to a quantification of how much a deviation from the basic kit model increases the cost of the improvement being assessed. See Morris v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 712 N.E.2d 1120, 1123 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1999). In Morris, the Court reversed the State Board’s final determination that the taxpayer’s building did not qualify as a kit building because it possessed a brick wall. See id. at 1124. In Morris, this Court stated that the existence of brick walls does not automatically disqualify a building from kit building status. See id. This Court has previously ruled that a building may still qualify for a kit adjustment even though it contains minor enhancements. See King Indus. Corp., 699 N.E.2d at 342. Unlike the structure in Morris though, WRC’s building was covered entirely with brick veneer. (Trial Tr. at 48.)
The State Board, in its final assessment determination, stated that because the exterior of WRC’s building was entirely covered with brick veneer, it was specifically disqualified from receiving the kit adjustment. (Resp’t. Ex. 1.) The State Board’s hearing officer testified that while the State Board would allow a kit adjustment for a building that contained some brick, a kit adjustment would not be warranted where, as here, a building is bricked on all sides. (Trial Tr. at 74) (“We would allow brick . . . on the front of a building to . . . add some cosmetic appearance. But if it has brick from floor to ceiling all the way around the building to significantly change the appearance . . . then . . . it is no longer a light–duty, pre-engineered metal kit-type building.”) WRC also claimed that its building contained a rigid metal frame, secondary wall purlins, and Cee channels. (Trial Tr. at 46, 57.) See Instructional Bulletin 91-8 at 4. However, WRC did not provide the detailed evidence necessary to support this claim. See footnote (Trial Tr. at 65.)
The Court finds that although WRC’s building may possess most of the characteristics found in kit buildings, the fact that the building is entirely covered with brick veneer takes it out of the economical category in which kit buildings are found. See Barth, 699 N.E.2d at 800-01. Therefore, the Court finds for the State Board on this issue.
CONCLUSION

    For the reasons stated above, the Court AFFIRMS the final assessment determination of the State Board in this case.


Footnote: The record reflects that WRC is a partnership, not a corporation. (Pet’r. Ex.1). The Court also notes that Mr. Cole is proceeding on behalf of the partnership in a pro se basis. See Ind. Code Ann. § 23-4-1-9 (West, 1994) (Every partner is an agent of the partnership for the purpose of its business.) While it is unknown who owns title to the land in question, the State Board did not raise this issue either in its brief or at trial. Therefore, the Court deems it waived and will not address it in this opinion. See Scheid v. State Board of Tax Comm’rs, 560 N.E.2d 1283, 1284 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1990). The Court also notes that litigants who choose to proceed in a pro se basis are held to the same established rules of procedure as trained legal counsel. See Wright v. Elston, 701 N.E.2d 1227, 1231 (Ind. Ct. App. 1998).

Footnote: This determination stemmed from an appeal of WRC’s 1989 reassessment.

Footnote:
While the record does not indicate an exact date, the Court notes that WRC’s building was constructed between the 1989 and 1995 reassessments. (Trial Tr. at 42-43.)

Footnote: At trial, Mr. Cole attempted to introduce several pieces of evidence that would have supported WRC’s case on this point. However, since they were not introduced at the State Board level, this Court cannot consider them here. See State Board of Tax Commissioners v. Gatling Gun Club, 420 N.E.2d 1324, 1328 (Ind. Ct. App. 1981).