ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER
JOSEPH D. GEESLIN, JR.
ATTORNEY AT LAW
ATTORNEYS FOR THE RESPONDENT
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA
VINCENT S. MIRKOV
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
INDIANA TAX COURT
EASTGATE PARTNERSHIP, )
v. ) Cause No. 49T10-9810-TA-117
DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT )
ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF
THE STATE BOARD OF TAX COMMISSIONERS
December 17, 2002
Eastgate Partnership (Eastgate) appeals the final determination of the State Board of Tax
Commissioners (State Board) valuing its land for the 1989 general reassessment. The
issue before the Court is whether Eastgate made a prima facie case showing
that its land should have been assessed from the Township-Other portion of the
Marion County Land Valuation Order (land order). For the reasons given below,
the Court AFFIRMS the State Boards final determination.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Eastgate owns two contiguous parcels of land (parcels) in Warren Township, Marion County,
Indiana. The parcels are the site of a Marriott Inn located on
21st Street in Indianapolis. Eastgates property is situated approximately in the middle
of a row of six properties that included hotels, motels, and a restaurant.
All six properties are bounded on the west by Shadeland Avenue, on
the north by Interstate-70, on the east by Interstate-465, and on the south
by 21st Street.
In 1990, Eastgate appealed the 1989 reassessment of its parcels, first to the
Marion County Board of Review, then to the State Board. In July
1997, the State Board issued a final determination on Eastgates appeal, valuing Eastgates
land under the land orders Township-Other designation. Under that designation, Eastgates primary
land was valued at $1.50 per square foot and its secondary land at
$1.05 per square foot. Within days, the Marion County Executive filed a
request for a rehearing under the provisions of Indiana Code Section 6-1.1-15-5(a).
The State Board granted the request and, after conducting a second hearing, issued
a final determination on October 9, 1997. The Final Determination stated:
The Marion County Land Order for Warren Township page 67, values the land
on Shadeland Avenue from I-70 south to Washington Street intersection at a primary
range of $3.00 to 4.00 per square foot. After reviewing the specific
geographic area in question on 21st Street east of Shadeland Avenue, it is
determined properties similar in use to the subject except one parcel are valued
at $3.00 per square foot. It should also be noted that properties
on 21st Street west of Shadeland Avenue are also valued at $3.00 per
(Petr Ex. B at 14.) Thus, the State Board increased the value
of Eastgates primary land from $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot and increased
the value of its secondary land from $1.05 to $2.10 per square foot.
Eastgate appealed the State Boards final determination to this Court. The Court
remanded the matter to the State Board on March 6, 1998 pursuant to
the parties agreement. On July 21, 1998, the State Board held a
third hearing and, on August 17, 1998, issued a final determination affirming its
valuation of Eastgates parcels. On October 1, 1998, Eastgate initiated an original
tax appeal. On May 19, 1999, this Court held a trial.
On February 24, 2000, 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. Walker Mfg. Co.
v. Dept of Local Govt Fin., 772 N.E.2d 1, 4 (Ind. Tax Ct.
2002). 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 was 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 carries the burden of establishing
a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the State Board to rebut
the taxpayers evidence and justify its decision with substantial evidence. Clark v.
State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 694 N.E.2d 1230, 1233 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998).
The sole issue is whether Eastgate made a prima facie case showing that
its land should have been assessed from the Township-Other portion of the land
order. Eastgate argues that because its land was on 21st Street, not
Shadeland Avenue, and because the land order had no specific 21st Street designation,
its land should have been valued under the designation of TownshipOther at $1.50
and $1.05 per square foot for primary and secondary land, respectively. Eastgate
A land order is a set of land values used to assess real
See footnote These land values are expressed as ranges of base rates that
are applied to various geographic areas delineated within the land order.
Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-2-1(a) (1992) (repealed 1995). The two
areas at issue in the instant case are a Shadeland Avenue designation and
a TownshipOther designation, which are found in Section V on pages 6768 of
the land order:
Low Value High Value
Low Value High Value
Shadeland Av, S. of I-70 to Washington St. Intersec
Low Value High Value
Low Value High Value
Township - other
(Petr Ex. L.)
Eastgate claims that its land should have been designated as Township-Other and relies
on this Courts holding in The Precedent v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs,
659 N.E.2d 701 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1995). In The Precedent, this Court
held that the State Board was required to assess the taxpayers land under
the catch-all Township-Other designation of the land order because the taxpayers land fell
outside any area described in the land order. See The Precedent, 659
N.E.2d at 7046. The Precedent, however, is distinguishable from the instant case.
Here, Eastgates land is covered by a portion of the land orderthe section
designating land in the geographic area of Shadeland Avenue south of I-70 to
the Washington Street intersection. (See Petr Ex. L.) Shadeland Avenue roughly
divides that area into two halves. The eastern half is clearly bounded
by I-465, and the western half is clearly bounded by a residential neighborhood.
(See Petr Exs. C1 & C2.) Eastgates land falls within
that area. Thus, the State Board properly assessed Eastgate's land under the
Shadeland Avenue portion of the land order instead of the "Township-Other" designation.
The Court, therefore, AFFIRMS the final determination of the State Board.
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. Pub. L. No. 198-2001, § 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); Pub. L. No. 198-2001, §§ 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); Pub.
L. No. 198-2001, § 95. Nevertheless, the law in effect prior to
January 1, 2002 applies to these appeals. I.C. § 6-1.5-5-8. See
also Pub. L. No. 198-2001, § 117. Although the DLGF has been
substituted as the Respondent, this Court will still reference the State Board throughout
Within fifteen (15) days after the state board of tax commissioners gives
notice of its final determination under section 4 of this chapter, the county
executive may, upon the request of the county assessor, request a rehearing before
Ind. Code § 6-1.1-15-5(a) (1993).
For the 1989 general reassessment, land orders were promulgated by county land
valuation commissions and adopted as rules after review by the State Board.
Ind. Code §§ 6-1.1-4-13.6 (1993); Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 2.1-2-1(a) (1992)
(repealed 1995). In 1997, the Indiana Legislature placed the determination of land
values for the next general reassessment under the purview of township assessors.
Pub. L. No. 6-1997, § 15 (codified as amended at Ind. Code Ann.
§ 6-1.1-4-13.6 (West Supp. 2002)).
Indeed, the record indicates that all the properties directly to the east
and west of Eastgates property were assessed at $3.00 and $2.10 per square
foot for primary and secondary land, respectively. Although Eastgate showed that a
property directly next door to it had been valued at $1.50 and $1.05
per square foot for primary and secondary land, the State Board rebutted by
evidence showing that the valuation was erroneous and that steps had been taken
to equalize the lands value relative to the surrounding properties. Eastgate never
refuted the State Boards showing on this matter.