ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER: ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT:
TIMOTHY J. VRANA CHAD T. LEWIS
SHARPNACK BIGLEY LLP WILMER E. GOERING
Columbus, IN    ECKERT ALCORN GOERING & SAGE LLP     
    Madison, IN


IN THE
INDIANA TAX COURT
TKC PROPERTIES LLC,         )           
             
                                
                             
                      
                                 )
    Petitioner,                  )
                                 )    
    v.                           )    Cause No. 49T10-0211-TA-131

            )
MADISON TOWNSHIP ASSESSOR,        )                                  )
    Respondent.            )    


ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF
THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX REVIEW



NOT FOR PUBLICATION
October 13, 2004


FISHER, J.

The Petitioner, TKC Properties LLC (TKC), appeals the final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review (Indiana Board) valuing its real property for the 1999 assessment year. Although TKC raises other issues on appeal, the dispositive issue in this case is whether the Jefferson County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA) erred in issuing an interim reassessment on TKC’s property in the absence of any changes to the property.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

    TKC owns a platted parcel of land in Jefferson County, Indiana. The Jefferson County Land Order provides that parcels that are not platted should be priced no higher than $24,750.00 per acre, while commercial/industrial platted lots should be priced no higher than $900.00 per front foot. For the 1995 general reassessment, the Madison Township Assessor (Assessor) assessed the subject property – which was then owned by K.P. Oil, Inc. (K.P. Oil) – at $30,230.00, using the $900.00 per front foot rate.
    K.P. Oil appealed the assessment to the Jefferson County Board of Review (BOR) which affirmed the assessment. On June 19, 1996, K.P. Oil filed a Petition for Review of Assessment (Form 131) with the State Board of Tax Commissioners (State Board) contending that the land should be assessed at $24,750.00 per acre in order to be valued similarly to the property on the north side of the street. The State Board issued its final determination on December 2, 1998, reversing the BOR. More specifically, the State Board found that the lot was not platted and should therefore be priced no higher than $24,750.00 per acre. See footnote The Assessor requested a rehearing with the State Board, which was denied. The Assessor subsequently requested the State Board to reconsider its denial of the request for rehearing. That request was also denied.     
Prior to the March 1, 1999 assessment date, ownership of the subject property was transferred from K.P. Oil to TKC. On September 8, 1999, the PTABOASee footnote reassessed TKC’s parcel at $900.00 per front foot. The PTABOA issued this interim assessment on the basis that the parcel was actually platted, not unplatted as the State Board had found. TKC filed a Form 131 with the State Board on October 5, 1999, challenging the PTABOA’s assessment.See footnote On October 9, 2002, the Indiana Board issued a final determination affirming the PTABOA’s interim assessment and holding that the State Board’s prior final determination had been in error.See footnote
    TKC initiated an original tax appeal on November 15, 2002. This Court heard the parties’ oral arguments on October 6, 2003. Additional facts will be supplied as necessary.     
ANALYSIS AND OPINION


Standard of Review


    This Court gives great deference to final determinations of the Indiana Board. Wittenberg Lutheran Vill. Endowment Corp. v. Lake County Prop. Tax Assessment Bd. of Appeals, 782 N.E.2d 483, 486 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2003), review denied. Consequently, the Court will reverse a final determination of the Indiana Board only if it is:
arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law;

contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege, or immunity;

in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, or short of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations;

without observance of procedure required by law; or

unsupported by substantial or reliable evidence.

Ind. Code Ann. § 33-26-6-6(e)(1)-(5) (West Supp. 2004). The party seeking to overturn the Indiana Board’s final determination bears the burden of proving its invalidity. Osolo Township Assessor v. Elkhart Maple Lane Assocs., L.P., 789 N.E.2d 109, 111 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2003).

Discussion


    All real property in Indiana is assessed during a general reassessment. Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-4-4 (West Supp. 2004). Property values assigned in a general reassessment are carried forward from year to year until the next general reassessment. See Wetzel Enters., Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 694 N.E.2d 1259, 1260 n.3 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998). Nevertheless, assessing officials may reassess real property between general reassessments in order to reflect changes to the property itself or in the use of the property that may increase or decrease the assessment value. See Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-4-25 (West Supp. 2004); see also Williams Indus. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 648 N.E.2d 713, 715 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1995). When such interim reassessments are made, assessing officials must provide the taxpayer with sufficient notice and an opportunity to rebut any proposed changes. See Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-4-22 (West 2004); see also Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-4-30 (West 2004). However, when no changes occur to the property to affect its general reassessment value, that value must be carried forward until the next general reassessment. See Williams Indus., 648 N.E.2d at 716.
    TKC contends that the Indiana Board erred in affirming the PTABOA’s interim reassessment because there were no changes in the subject property since the 1995 general reassessment. However, the Assessor maintains that there was, in fact, a change to the property that warranted the issuance of the interim reassessment. The Assessor’s argument, in effect, is that the property “changed” from an unplatted lot to a platted lot and that the interim reassessment was issued to reflect this change. (See Resp’t Br. at 8; Oral Argument Tr. at 19.) The Court disagrees.
    Jefferson County plat records show that the subject property has been platted since 1958. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 16.) As such, it was platted at the time of the 1995 general reassessment and has remained unchanged in that respect. See footnote Furthermore, the Assessor has not pointed to any other changes in the property that would warrant the issuance of an interim reassessment. Accordingly, because there have been no changes to the property since the 1995 general reassessment, the value assigned during that assessment should carry forward until the next general reassessment. The Indiana Board therefore erred in affirming the PTABOA’s interim reassessment.
CONCLUSION

    For the foregoing reasons, the Indiana Board’s 2002 final determination is REVERSED. The Indiana Board shall, on remand, instruct the local assessing officials to reassess the property using the rate of $24,750.00 per acre.

    
    


Footnote: The record indicates that the parcel is less than 0.2 acres. (Cert. Admin. R. at 6, 69.) Thus, the resulting assessment was $4,330.00.

Footnote: The legislature transferred the authority and duties of the local Boards of Review to their “successors,” the local Property Tax Assessment Boards of Appeal. See Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-13-1 (West 2004).

Footnote: TKC appealed directly to the State Board. (Cert. Admin. R. at 3-5.)

Footnote: The State Board of Tax Commissioners was abolished by the legislature as of December 31, 2001. 2001 Ind. Acts 198 § 119(b)(2). In its stead, the Indiana Board of Tax Review (Indiana Board) was created. Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.5-1-3 (West Supp. 2004)(eff. 1-1-02); 2001 Ind. Acts 198 § 95. Consequently, when the final determination was issued on TKC’s appeal, it was issued by the Indiana Board.

Footnote: This may seem a somewhat harsh result because the State Board, by the Indiana Board’s own admission, simply made a mistake when it issued its final determination in the first appeal finding that the subject property was unplatted. ( See Cert. Admin. R. at 39.) The Assessor was prevented from appealing that final determination to this Court because the refund at issue, $5,637.58, did not meet the minimum jurisdictional requirement for an appeal to the Tax Court. See Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-15-5(f) (West 1998) (providing that the assessor could appeal if the refund at issue exceeded the lesser of eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000) or an amount equal to ten percent (10%) of the aggregate tax levies of all taxing units in the county for that year). However, assessors in cases arising after January 1, 2002 will not necessarily be bound in this way. See Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-15-5(e) (West Supp. 2004) (eff. 1-1-02); 2001 Ind. Acts 198 § 45 (providing that an assessor may petition for judicial review regardless of the refund amount in controversy).