ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER:
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT:
TIMOTHY J. VRANA
SHARPNACK BIGLEY LLP
WILMER E. GOERING
Columbus, IN ECKERT ALCORN GOERING & SAGE LLP
INDIANA TAX COURT
TKC PROPERTIES LLC, )
v. ) Cause No. 49T10-0211-TA-131
MADISON TOWNSHIP ASSESSOR, )
ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF
THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX REVIEW
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
October 13, 2004
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 TKCs 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
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 TKCs 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 PTABOAs assessment.See footnote
On October 9, 2002, the Indiana Board issued a final determination affirming the
PTABOAs interim assessment and holding that the State Boards 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
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 Boards 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).
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 Commrs, 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 Commrs, 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 PTABOAs 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
Assessors 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 Respt 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
PTABOAs interim reassessment.
For the foregoing reasons, the Indiana Boards 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.
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).
TKC appealed directly to the State Board. (Cert. Admin. R. at
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 TKCs appeal,
it was issued by the Indiana Board.
This may seem a somewhat harsh result because the State Board, by
the Indiana Boards 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