PETITIONER APPEARING PRO SE: ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT:
GARY L. OETTING STEVE CARTER
General Partner ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA
KEAG Family Limited Partnership Indianapolis, IN
Fort Wayne, IN
VINCENT S. MIRKOV
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
IN THE INDIANA TAX COURT _____________________________________________________________________
KEAG FAMILY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, ) ) Petitioner, ) ) v. ) Cause No. 02T10-9906-TA-145 ) STATE BOARD OF TAX COMMISSIONERS, ) ) Respondent. ) _____________________________________________________________________
The State Board contends that KEAGs claim exceeds $1,500. (Respt Mem. in
Support of Motion for Summary Judgment at 3). The State Board
also contends that KEAGs claim for refunds of property taxes paid for 1997
and 1998 do not arise out of the business of KEAG.
The State Boards contentions are erroneous. First, the State Board relies on KEAGs notice of claim, which seeks a total refund in the amount of $12,411.81, plus statutory interest and attorneys fees. (Respt Designation of Facts and Evidence, Ex. D). What the State Board fails to recognize, however, is that that claim is based on a refund of taxes on the three aforementioned parcels not only for 1997 and 1998, but for 1994, 1995, and 1996 as well.
When KEAG filed its original tax appeal, it sought refunds on property taxes for tax years 1994 through 1998 on the three subject parcels. It appears from the record, however, that while KEAG filed separate appeals on each of the three parcels with Allen County for all five years, only the appeals for 1997 and 1998 were forwarded to the State Board for final determinations. Because the Allen County Auditor failed to forward the 1994, 1995, and 1996 petitions to the State Board, however, there were no final determinations for those years from which KEAG could appeal. Consequently, this Court has no jurisdiction over those lost years, and is therefore unable to grant any relief thereon. See State Bd. of Tax Commrs v. Mixmill Mfg. Co., 702 N.E.2d 701, 703-704 (Ind. 1998); State Bd. of Tax Commrs v. L.H. Carbide Corp., 702 N.E.2d 706, 707 (Ind. 1998). Rather, KEAGs remedy for those years lies in a mandamus action with a court of general jurisdiction. See Carbide, 702 N.E.2d at 707.
By eliminating the claim amounts for 1994, 1995, and 1996, the amount of KEAGs overall claim is greatly reduced. Indeed, for 1997, KEAG seeks $1,381.24 on Parcel 95-2564-0186, $129.44 on Parcel 95-2564-0196, and $929.68 on Parcel 18-0009-0006. For 1998, KEAG seeks $1,377.30 on Parcel 95-2564-0186, $129.08 on Parcel 95-2564-0196, and $983.64 on Parcel 18-0009-0006. Each of these claims is under $1,500 and well within the purview of Small Claims Rule 8(C). See footnote
In addition, the State Boards notion that KEAGs challenge of property tax liability is not one arising out of its business is without merit. Limited partnerships are a creature of statute, the primary purpose of which is to permit a form of business enterprise, other than a corporation, in which persons can invest money without being personally liable for all partnership debts. Kelsey v. Kelsey, 714 N.E.2d 187, 190 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999). A family limited partnership is simply a limited partnership among members of a family.
Family limited partnerships have often been formed to hold family compounds, businesses, rental properties, and, in some cases, marketable securities. Here, the KEAGs property tax liability challenges are based on three parcels owned by the KEAG family limited partnership. Issues that relate to partnership property necessarily arise out of the business of the partnership. As such, the property tax liability challenges that KEAG raises here arise out of the business of KEAG.