ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER:
DAVID L. PIPPEN
ATTORNEY AT LAW
ATTORNEYS FOR THE RESPONDENT:
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA
LAUREANNE L. NORDSTROM
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
INDIANA TAX COURT
COACHMEN INDUSTRIES, INC., )
v. ) Cause No. 49T10-0005-TA-70
DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL )
ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION
OF THE STATE BOARD OF TAX COMMISSIONERS
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
July 17, 2003
Coachmen Industries, Inc. (Coachmen) appeals the final determination of the State Board of
Tax Commissioners (State Board) valuing its real property for the 1995 tax year.
The only issue for the Court to decide is whether the State
Board erred when it used the General Commercial Industrial (GCI) pricing schedule to
assess Coachmens improvement.
See footnote For the following reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the State
Boards final determination.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Coachmen owns a commercial improvement in Adams County, Indiana. For the 1995
general reassessment, Coachmens improvement was assessed at $1,054,500 pursuant to the GCI pricing
schedule contained within Indianas assessment rules.See footnote Coachmen appealed its assessment to the Washington
Township Board of Review (BOR), arguing that because its improvement was a kit
building, the General Commercial Kit (GCK) pricing scheduleSee footnote should have been used to
assess it as opposed to the GCI pricing schedule. The BOR denied
Coachmens appeal. Coachmen appealed the BORs denial to the State Board, which
held a hearing on November 23, 1999. On March 30, 2000, the
State Board issued a final determination on Coachmens appeal, upholding the BORs determination.
On May 15, 2000, Coachmen initiated this original tax appeal. On September
29, 2000, the parties stipulated to the record. On March 19, 2001,
the parties presented oral arguments. 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 Commrs, 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 is 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 taxpayers evidence and
support its findings with substantial evidence. Id.
The sole issue is whether the State Board erred when it used the
GCI pricing schedule to assess Coachmens improvement. Coachmen contends that because its
improvement is a kit building, it should have been assessed using the GCK
pricing schedule. Coachmen is incorrect.
Kit building components are fabricated from lightweight, inexpensive materials at central manufacturing facilities
then shipped to a location for fast and efficient assembly. Hamstra Builders,
Inc. v. Dept of Local Govt Fin., 783 N.E.2d 387, 390 (Ind. Tax
Ct. 2003). [T]he key elements used to identify kit buildings are simply
[the] buildings type of interior column and roof beam support[,which] may include cold
form cee channel supports, tapered columns, H-columns, and steel pole (or post) columns.
Id. at 39091 (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). As a
result, it should not be difficult for taxpayers to identify those characteristics in
an improvement that qualify it as a kit building. Id. at 391.
Indeed, a taxpayer makes a prima facie case that its improvement is
a kit building when it shows that its improvements column and roof beam
support meet the criteria for a kit building. Id. Such an
improvement is to be assessed using the GCK pricing schedule. See Ind.
Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.2-11-6 (Sched A.4) (1996).
Coachmen argues that its improvement is a kit building because it features concrete
piers which house the metal columns which support most of the structures weight
[and because the] metal columns, purlins, girts, and beams are common to all
pre-engineered buildings and are spaced and sized according to the width of the
buildings span[.] (Petr Post Hrg Br. at 3 (citing Exs. C at
2; A at 19).) Coachmens claim is merely conclusory because it provides
no information that allows this Court to evaluate the basis of the claim;
it therefore is not probative evidence.
See Walker Mfg. Co. v. Dept
of Local Govt Fin., 772 N.E.2d 1, 7 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2002) (holding
that conclusory statements do not constitute probative evidence). Because Coachmen has not
submitted any evidence that would support its claim, it has failed to present
a prima facie case. Therefore, the Court AFFIRMS the State Boards final
For the aforementioned reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the State Boards 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, the Court will still reference the State Board throughout
Footnote: In addition, Coachmen raises various state and federal constitutional claims that this
Court has declined to reach in previous cases. See, e.g., Barth, Inc.
v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 756 N.E.2d 1124, 1127 n.1 (Ind. Tax
Ct. 2001). Because Coachmens claims and supporting arguments are identical to those
previously rejected by the Court, the Court will not address them.
See Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.2-11-6 (Sched. A.2) (1996).
See Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.2-11-6 (Sched. A.4) (1996).
Coachmen also claims that its improvement is a kit building because it
has exterior walls of 26 gauge metal and a roof of 24 metal
gauge [sic]. (Petr Post Hrg Br. at 3.) However, the mere
fact that an improvement has metal exterior walls and roofing does not necessarily
mean that the improvement is a kit building.
See Barker v. State
Bd. of Tax Commrs, 712 N.E.2d 563, 567 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1999).
Coachmen also argues that the State Board erred by applying a 40-year
physical depreciation table to its improvement. However, this claim is based on
the assumption that the improvement is a kit building. Because Coachmen failed
to submit probative evidence showing that its improvement is a kit building, its
claim as to the physical depreciation table is rendered moot.