ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER: ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT:
TAMATHA A. STEVENS STEVE CARTER
INDIANA TAX COURT
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
Darlington Farms, Inc. (Darlington) filed a Form 131, Petition for Review of Assessment,
with the State Board of Tax Commissioners (State Board) on November 17, 1992.
On November 22, 1996, the State Board issued its final determination thereon.
Darlington then timely filed an appeal with this Court.
The issues presented in this appeal are:
1. Whether the improvement is entitled to a kit building adjustment; and
2. Whether the improvement is entitled to depreciation using the thirty-year life table.
ANALYSIS AND OPINION
Standard of Review
The Court gives great deference to the State Boards final determinations when the
State Board acts within the scope of its authority. Wetzel Enters., Inc.
v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 694 N.E.2d 1259, 1261 (Ind. Tax Ct.
1998). Accordingly, this Court reverses final determinations of the State Board only
when those decisions are unsupported by substantial evidence, are arbitrary or capricious, constitute
an abuse discretion, or exceeds statutory authority. Id. The taxpayer bears
the burden of demonstrating the invalidity of the State Boards final determination.
Clark v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 694 N.E.2d 1230, 1233 (Ind. Tax
1. Kit Adjustment
Because Darlington bears the burden to show that its improvement is entitled to
a kit building adjustment, the Court looks to the probative evidence Darlington presented
to the State Board to support that claim. Darlingtons only evidence on
this issue was the testimony of its tax representative, Mr. M. Drew Miller,
and three photographs of the improvement at issue.
At the hearing before the court, Mr. Miller testified as follows:
[I]ts basically a light pre-engineered structure fabricated by Butler Manufacturers . . .
has good clear ceiling heights. (R., p. 40, lines 7,8 & 10);
Butler is a manufacturer of pre-engineered steel buildings. Basically you tell them what
size building you want and what type and they ship it out to
the site in pieces and its assembled on the site. (R., p. 41,
[W]e felt that the subject property was substantially inferior to the base model
from which it is being priced and a substantial adjustment needed to be
made. In my opinion, it is a lot closer to a kit type
structure more than the C grade model thats described in the manual. (R.,
p. 43, lines 4-10);
I think it is a lot closer to a kit type structure. It
is very light in nature. It has pipe columns in it, bar joists.
It is very light. . . . (R., p. 47, lines 8-10.)
Of the photographs presented, two depicted the exterior of the building as a
large metal sided building. The other photograph depicted the interior with the
ceiling open to the roof with support.
The State Board issued Instructional Bulletins 91-8 and 92-1 to guide assessing officials
in identifying the characteristics and components of buildings entitled to a kit building
adjustment. Darlington presented no evidence of any of the characteristics of its
structure that would identify it as a kit building. Neither the testimony
cited above nor the photographs provide a basis from which the State Board
could conclude that the structure was entitled to the kit building adjustment.
See Whitley Prods. Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs 704 N.E.2d 1113,
1119 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998); Heart City Chrysler v. State Bd. of Tax
Commrs, 714 N.E.2d 329, 333 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1999). Thus, Darlington has not
carried its burden of proof on this issue.
2. Thirty-year Depreciation Table
Darlington also claims the State Board erred in depreciating its improvement pursuant to
the forty-year life table, as opposed to the thirty-year life table. Darlington
The thirty-year life table applies to various buildings, including light pre-engineered buildings. Ind.Admin.Code,
tit.50, 2.1-5-1. The forty-year life table applies to, inter alia, all fire-proof
buildings not listed elsewhere in the regulation. Id. As stated above,
Darlington has not shown that its structure is a light pre-engineered building, nor
has it shown that it falls under any other description of buildings depreciated
under the thirty-year life table. Thus, Darlington has not shown that the
State Board erred in applying the forty-year depreciation table to its structure.
Darlington, having failed to carry its burden of proof, shall take nothing by
its petition. Accordingly, this Court AFFIRMS the State Boards final determination.
raised another issue. Darlington filed a Form 133 with the Allen County
Auditor on April 8, 1992, requesting a correction of error on its 1991
assessment. On November 4,1992, Darlington received notice from the Allen County Auditor
denying the relief requested in the Form 133. The State Board, however, never
received the Form 133 from the Allen County Auditor, and no evidence has
been presented explaining why the State Board did not receive it. Darlington
asks this Court to order the State Board to grant the same relief
sought in the Form 131 appeal for 1992.
This Court has no
jurisdiction to grant any relief on the Form 133 appeal. Because the
State Board did not receive the Form 133 from the County, and therefore
did not act on it, this Court has no jurisdiction over the matter.
State Bd. of Tax Commrs v. Mixmill Mfg. Co., 702 N.E.2d 701,
705 (Ind. 1998); State Bd. of Tax Commrs v. L. H. Carbide Corp.,
702 N.E.2d 706, 707 (Ind. 1998). Darlingtons remedy lies in a writ
of mandamus from a court of general jurisdiction. Id.
The hearing officer also testified, and although he gave some details
about the structure, he said nothing that would support the proposition that the
structure was entitled to the kit building adjustment.