Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Times Reports Lake Property Tax Bills Installment Due May 12

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

Lake County residents will see for the first time how much their new local income tax will reduce their property taxes.
Lake County Treasurer John Petalas said the 2014 first installment of tax bills will be due May 12.
Lake County Commissioner Mike Repay said the bills, which are arriving by mail, will indicate in box 4B how much of the property taxes were reduced by Lake's new 1.5 percent personal income tax.
Lake officials passed the income tax last May under a state law that reduced local government revenues until local officials passed the income tax as a form of property tax relief.
Repay said the reduction could amount to as much as 13 percent for residents who don't live in Gary, Hammond, East Chicago and Lake Station. Tax rates there already are so high residents enjoy tax relief under the circuit breaker system capping the total amount of taxes the county can extract from any single property.
Petalas said the bills can be paid from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at his offices at 2293 N. Main St., Crown Point; 232 Russell St., Hammond; and 11 E. 4th Ave., Gary. He said his offices will have extended hours from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 12.
He said anyone who doesn't have questions or problems with their bills can pay at the branch offices of these banks: Fifth Third Bank, American Savings FSB, Centier Bank, Chase Bank, DeMotte State Bank, First Federal Savings and Loan, First Financial Bank, First Midwest Bank, Dyer Bank & Trust, BMO Harris Bank, Horizon Bank, Lake Federal Bank, Main Source Bank, People's Bank and the Indiana branches of Tech Federal Credit Union.
Petalas said property owners also can pay online at www.lakecountyin.org by e-check. They also can pay online by credit card. The credit card company, not the county, will charge a fee for that service.
He advised the public that as the deadline approaches, his office will be receiving a high volume of calls so anyone calling for information will need to be patient.

Tribune Reports Mishawaka Schools Hire Consultant for Finances

From the South Bend Tribune:

 Mishawaka schools could soon get a second opinion on its financial woes.
Because of Circuit Breaker tax caps, officials say, the district needs to save or cut upward of $10 million by 2020.
A $28 million referendum was attempted last fall to upgrade schools and technology. But, voters rejected it rather than pay higher property taxes.
Superintendent Terry Barker said he intends to ask the school board at its meeting next week to approve the hiring of the firm Speicher Fields & Associates to study the district’s finances and ultimately recommend a strategy for going forward.
“One complaint (voters had) of our referendum campaign,” Barker said, “was that we did not communicate … So this is a second go-round to just kind of provide that greater opportunity for a broader spectrum of input.”
At least two school board members will support Barker’s request.
“I think it’s a good idea,” board President Dennis Wood said Monday. “I just feel like if we get a second look at it, the board would be really comfortable … (Though) it’s not like anybody is doing anything wrong.”
The end result of the consultants’ work could be a recommendation to cut the budget and save the money, implement revenue-generating tactics or pursue a second referendum, Barker said.
Asked if that means all money-saving options are now back on the table, the superintendent said, not exactly.
“Obviously,” he said, “If we’re looking at repairing furnaces at Hums (Elementary School) and replacing ceiling materials, I’m not going to put Hums back on the (chopping) block.”
Months ago, the school was pegged for closure, but after a public outcry by parents and others, Barker decided to keep it open.
“But, if we still have to save money when we go into next year,” he said, “we will have to take a look at the facilities that we do have. Do we keep them all open or shut one down because of operational cost? Does it mean we push centralized kindergarten (again)? We might study it.

“Our intent is to just bring a fresh set of eyes, a fresher process,” Barker said. “Let somebody else take a look at this.”

Revenue Advises Taxpayer Who Didn't File or Pay on Time

Didn’t File or Pay on Time?

INDIANAPOLIS (April 21, 2014) –Taxpayers who missed the April 15 individual income tax filing deadline should still file and pay their taxes to minimize penalty and interest.
Taxpayers filing and paying after the deadline should consider doing so electronically. Electronic returns and payments are processed quickly, while paper returns with payments can take up to 12 weeks to process.

INfreefile, the department’s free online filing program, is still available for qualified taxpayers to file federal and state taxes at www.freefile.dor.in.gov. Visitwww.freefile.dor.in.gov to see if you qualify based on the vendors’ options.

Taxpayers can pay tax owed online through the department’s secure ePay site at www.epay.in.gov.

If you cannot pay your taxes due, pay as much as possible to minimize penalty and interest charges. The department will send a bill for the remainder of the amount due, which will include penalty and current interest. After receiving the bill, go to www.intaxpay.in.gov to see if you qualify for a payment plan. Taxpayers will qualify if they owe more than $100 and can pay at least 20 percent down.

If you need assistance, or have any questions about your return, please contact the department at (317) 232-2240.

Revenue Finds Fuel not "Separately Bargained for" in Purchase of Equipment and Therefore Purchases did not Qualify for Resale Exemption

Excerpts of Revenue's Determinaton follow:

Taxpayer is a dealer of agricultural equipment with multiple locations in Indiana. As the result of an audit, the Indiana Department of Revenue ("Department") determined that Taxpayer had not collected and remitted the proper amount of Indiana sales tax as a retail merchant for the tax years 2011 and 2012. The Department therefore issued proposed assessments for sales and use tax, and interest, for these tax years.

Taxpayer protests a portion of the Department's proposed assessments of sales tax for the years 2011 and 2012. Taxpayer raises three specific issues:

(1) Assessment of sales tax on sales transactions made exempt from sales tax by valid exemption certificates.
(2) Assessment of use tax on purchases of gasoline and diesel fuel purchased for resale and placed into the fuel supply tanks of new and used agricultural equipment.
(3) Assessment of use tax on television, newspaper, and internet advertising campaigns.

... The Department assessed sales taxes on Taxpayer's sales of equipment. During the protest, Taxpayer presented ST-105 Exemption Certificates for two sales.

IC 6-2.5-8-8(a) describes sales tax exemption certificates:

A person, authorized under subsection (b), who makes a purchase in a transaction which is exempt from the state gross retail and use taxes, may issue an exemption certificate to the seller instead of paying the tax. The person shall issue the certificate on forms and in the manner prescribed by the department. A seller accepting a proper exemption certificate under this section has no duty to collect or remit the state gross retail or use tax on that purchase.

The corresponding regulation reads as follows: "An exemption certificate issued by a purchaser shall not be valid unless it is executed in the prescribed and approved form and unless all information requested on such form is completed." 45 IAC 2.2-8-12(f).

Exercising its statutory authority, the Department created Form ST-105, Indiana General Sales Tax Exemption Certificate. Pertinently, Form ST-105 requires the issuer to provide the following information: name, address, date, account number, description of the property being purchased, basis for exemption, and a signature certifying that the property will be used for an exempt purpose.

Because Taxpayer presented two valid ST-105 Exemption Certificates, Taxpayer's protest is sustained on this issue with respect to sales to those two customers.

As part of its business, Taxpayer purchased diesel and gasoline to place in tractors and other equipment, which were then sold to customers. Taxpayer provides additional fuel to satisfy its customers' expectations, and to ensure that the equipment can be unloaded and tested at the customers' location. Taxpayer does not, however, separately bargain with its customers for the additional fuel. In other words, Taxpayer does not charge its customers a higher or lower price based on the amount of fuel that Taxpayer places into the equipment.

Taxpayer asserts that it should not have to pay sales or use taxes on fuel that it places into equipment that is sold to customers. Taxpayer argues that the fuel should be subject to the resale exemption because, in Taxpayer's view, the fuel is part of the tangible personal property transferred to its customers. See IC 6-2.5-5-8.

Taxpayer, however, is ineligible for the resale exemption because Taxpayer did not separately bargain with its customers for the price of the fuel. See Brambles Industries, Inc. v. Indiana Dep't of State Revenue, 892 N.E.2d 1287 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2008) . In Brambles, a manufacturer sought the "resale exemption" for pallets by maintaining that "the price of pallet was incorporated into the price of their products." ...

For these reasons, the fuel does not qualify for the resale exemption. Taxpayer is not selling the fuel because there is neither a separate itemized consideration nor separate bargaining for the fuel. Since Taxpayer did not pay sales tax at the time of the purchase of the fuel, use tax is properly imposed. As a result, Taxpayer has not met its burden to prove the proposed assessment wrong, as provided by IC 6-8.1-5-1(c).

Accordingly, Taxpayer's protest is denied with respect to this issue.

Taxpayer paid for television, newspaper, and internet marketing. During the audit, the Department assessed use tax on these purchases. During the protest, however, Taxpayer provided invoices establishing that it purchased advertising services, rather than tangible personal property. Intangible advertising services are not subject to sales or use tax.

Accordingly, Taxpayer's protest is sustained with respect to this issue.

Board Finds Respondent's Appraisal Proved Property was Not Overvalued but Declined to Raise Assessed Value where Assessor Failed to Request an Increase

Excerpts of the Board's Determination follow:

26. The most effective method to establish value can be through the presentation of a market value-in-use appraisal, completed in conformance with USPAP. Kooshtard Property VI, 836 N.E.2d at 506 n.6. Consequently, regardless of who has the burden of proof for each parcel, the Respondent, through Ms. Moore’s appraisal, offered substantial, probative evidence regarding the market value-in-use of both parcels. The appraisal valued the subject property in conformance with USPAP. Ms. Moore estimated the value of the subject properties as one economic unit, which was $325,000 as of March 7, 2013. She also developed a value for each lot separately. Specifically she valued Lot 33 at $120,000 and valued Lot 34 at $225,000 as of March 7, 2013. And she sufficiently related her appraisal to March 1, 2012. She almost exclusively used comparable properties that sold in 2012 in her sales-comparison approach. Thus, Ms. Moore stated that “even though the appraisal was written in 2013, my comparable sales are for 2012, and I did put a 2013 in there to show the stability in the market place on the lake.” Accordingly, the Board finds that Ms. Moore sufficiently related her value to March 1, 2012. Through this USPAP conforming appraisal, the Respondent offered substantial evidence of the correct market value-in-use for the subject properties. Thus, the Board now turns to the Petitioners’ evidence and arguments for each parcel.

27. The Petitioners offered purportedly comparable sales in an attempt to prove that the subject property was over-assessed. A party offering such evidence must show that the properties are comparable to each other, and also must show how any relevant differences affect the properties’ relative values. See Long, 821 N.E.2d at 470-71 (holding that, in applying the sales-comparison approach, the taxpayers needed to explain how any differences between their property and the properties to which they sought to compare it affected the properties’ relevant market values-in-use). The Petitioners failed to explain how their purported comparable properties were the same as the subject property or how they differed. The Petitioners merely relied on the fact that the sales of their purportedly comparable properties averaged out to be less than the assessed value of the subject property. The sales comparison evidence presented by the Petitioners lacked the type of analysis contemplated by Long.

28. Another way to show market value-in-use is through comparable assessments. See Ind. Code § 6-1.1-15-18. This statute, however, does not automatically make evidence of other assessments probative. The party relying on those assessments must apply generally accepted appraisal and assessment practices to show that the properties are comparable to the property under appeal. Again, conclusory statements that a property is “similar” or “comparable” to another property do not suffice. See Long, 821 N.E.2d at 470. Instead, one must identify the characteristics of the property under appeal and explain how those characteristics compare to the characteristics of the other properties. Id. at 471. Similarly, one must explain how any differences affect the relative market values-in-use. Id.

29. Here, the Petitioners simply offer purportedly comparable property sales and assessments with no related analysis. Other than describing the view of Lake Freeman, the Petitioners failed to go into detail about how the properties are similar to the subject property or how they differ. The Petitioners’ evidence did little to quantitatively or qualitatively show how the differences between the properties affected their relative values. In fact, the Petitioners did not even offer a conclusion as to the value of the subject property. They just argue it is over-assessed. Their evidence is insufficient to prove that the current assessments are wrong.

30. The Petitioners also argue that the appraisal obtained by the Assessor erred by using comparables all located along Lake Freeman, and it failed to adequately account for this fact. But it is well within an appraiser’s expertise to choose the sales he or she deems most comparable to the subject property and apply adjustments to account for any differences. Without probative evidence to the contrary, the appraiser’s comparables and the lack of adjustments appear to be reasonable.

31. The Petitioners claim that the view from the subject property is hindered by bushes and the use is hindered by being located on the canal instead of on Lake Freeman. Even assuming these facts are true, the Petitioners were required to do more than simply conclude that the value of the property suffers as a result. To make a case, they were required to offer probative evidence of a more accurate value. See Talesnick v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 756 N.E.2d 1104, 1108 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2001). The Petitioners failed to offer such proof. Consequently, they failed to make a case for reducing the assessments.

32. In this appeal, the only probative evidence regarding the market value-in-use was offered by the Respondent. This evidence indicates that the values were even higher than they were assessed. The Board, however, declines to raise the assessments because the Respondent did not request any increase and because the Respondent stated that the 2012 assessments were not in error.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Revenue Finds Taxpayer whose Payment History Improved had not Affirmatively Demonstarted it had Reasonable Cause for Failure to Pay Withholding Tax

Excerpts of Revenue's Determination follow:

Taxpayer is an Indiana corporation. The Indiana Department of Revenue ("Department") determined that Taxpayer had not timely remitted withholding tax for the tax period October 2013. The Department issued proposed assessments for a ten percent negligence penalty and interest. Taxpayer protests the imposition of the penalty.

The Department issued a proposed assessment for a ten percent negligence penalty and interest for the tax period October 2013. Taxpayer protests the imposition of the penalty. The Department will determine whether the penalty imposed shall be waived.

A taxpayer who "fails to pay the full amount of tax shown on the person's return on or before the due date for the return or payment . . . is subject to a penalty."IC 6-8.1-10-2.1(a). The Department shall waive the penalty if the taxpayer demonstrates that the failure to pay outstanding taxes "was due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect." IC 6-8.1-10-2.1(d); see also 45 IAC 15-11-2. The taxpayer may demonstrate reasonable cause by showing affirmatively that it used "ordinary business care and prudence" in failing to pay the outstanding taxes by their due date. Whether a taxpayer demonstrates reasonable cause for penalty purposes is a fact-sensitive question and determined on a case-by-case basis. 45 IAC 15-11-2(b) and (c).

In this case, although Taxpayer has shown that it has improved its payment history over the last year, it has not affirmatively demonstrated that it had a reasonable cause for its failure to pay the proper amount of withholding tax for the tax period in question, October 2013, by its due date. Consequently the penalty shall not be waived, and Taxpayer's protest is respectfully denied.

Revenue Finds Taxpayer Provided Sufficient Evidence to Show Operational Segments do not Share Unitary Relationship

Excerpts of Revenue's Determination follow:

Taxpayer is an out-of-state corporation that conducts business in Indiana. Taxpayer is a manufacturer of various consumer and industrial products. Taxpayer filed its Indiana adjusted gross income tax returns on a consolidated basis with its subsidiaries and affiliates. Taxpayer filed its 2007 Indiana corporate income tax return on a consolidated basis, including related companies and subsidiaries receiving income from Indiana sources.

The Indiana Department of Revenue ("Department") conducted an audit of Taxpayer for the 2007 tax year. The Department determined that Taxpayer's method of reporting did not accurately reflect income properly sourced to Indiana. As a result of the audit, the Department made several proposed adjustments which resulted in the assessment of additional income tax as well as interest.

Taxpayer argues that the Department's decision requiring it to file a combined return was incorrect.

The Department's audit and the 2012 Letter of Findings found that Taxpayer and its related entities shared a unitary relationship, that Taxpayer's consolidated filing did not fairly reflect its Indiana income, and that the only realistic and accurate way of reporting Taxpayer's Indiana income was to require Taxpayer and its affiliates file a combined return.

Taxpayer conducts production operations as one segment of its business; Taxpayer also conducts marketing operations as a second segment of its business. As originally filed, Taxpayer included in its consolidated return primarily its marketing entities. The Department's combined return brought in the production entities. Taxpayer objected on the ground that the production companies had "absolutely nothing to do with Indiana" and that the production companies' revenue was generated by activities and areas "far removed from Indiana."

Both the audit and the 2012 Letter of Findings found that the production and marketing entities shared a "unitary relationship" and that there was a "circular flow of monies" between these two business operations justifying a decision requiring Taxpayer and its related entities to file a combined return.

In considering Taxpayer's objection, the threshold issue is whether the production and marketing entities shared a "unitary relationship" as set out in IC 6-3-2-2(m). The issue of what constitutes a "unitary relationship" has been addressed by the United States Supreme Court. In conducting a "unitary relationship" analysis, the Court considers whether contributions to income results from functional integration, centralization of management, and economies of scale. This means that the parties exhibit common ownership, common management, and common use or operation. Mobil Oil Corp. v. Commissioner of Taxes of Vermont, 445 U.S. 425, 438-40 (1980); ASARCO, Inc. v. Idaho State Tax Comm'n, 458 U.S. 307, 317 (1982); F.W. Woolworth Co. v. Taxation and Revenue Dept., 458 U.S. 354, 365 (1982); Container Corp. of America v. Franchise Tax Bd., 463 U.S. 159, 166 (1983); Allied-Signal, Inc. v. Director, Div. Of Taxation, 112 S.Ct. 2251, 2263-64 (1992).

Taxpayer has provided documentation establishing that the production and marketing sectors conduct interdivisional transactions on an "arms-length" basis, that the transactions are financially and competitively market driven, and that the production and marketing sectors are separately managed. Taxpayer has satisfactorily established that the inter-divisional transactions are not self-serving and are not structured simply as a means of minimizing state tax obligations.

Taxpayer has provided information establishing that the Department's earlier analysis was based on incomplete information, that the two operational segments do not share a unitary relationship, and the decision requiring Taxpayer file a combined return on that basis was premature.

Taxpayer has met its burden under IC 6-8.1-5-1(c) of establishing the Department erred in requiring that Taxpayer and its affiliates file a combined return.

The Audit Division is requested to revisit the 2007 audit and to make whatever adjustments are necessary and consistent with this Supplemental Letter of Findings.

Times Reports Porter County General Fund Hit Hard by Tax Caps

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

Porter County government is slated to lose even more money this year from its general fund as a result of the property tax caps, according to a state report issued last week.
Porter County Councilman Jim Biggs, R-1st, said he intends to call for a moratorium during next week's meeting on all new spending until the group has a better grip on the worsening financial problem and the various county departments heads are on board with a solution.
Biggs and other members of the council said only Porter County Auditor Bob Wichlinski has responded to their call to find ways of reducing spending.
Porter County has the ninth largest population in the state, yet is fifth in the value of its property upon which the amount of tax revenue is based, he said.
"It's ridiculous to say we have a revenue problem," Biggs said. "We have a spending problem."
Porter County Council Vice President Karen Conover, R-3rd, said she believes it is time for council members to discuss taking the even bigger step of rolling back the various department budgets to the amount spent last year.
The overall revenue loss among to all units of government countywide due to tax caps and the over-65 credit is up by 2 percent this year over last, according to the second annual report compiled by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.
But there is a 16 percent loss this year to county's general fund, which supports the core of county government services with property tax revenue.
The cities of Portage and Valparaiso also lost money this year due to the tax caps.

Reporter Reports Mt. Vernon Tax Hike Advocates Pin Hopes on May 6th

From the Greenfield Reporter:

Supporters of Mt. Vernon’s referendum are going all in with a final push to sway voters before May 6, and they believe this is the district’s best and possibly last shot at a successful referendum.

GraduateMVCSC, a grassroots group started by Larry Longman and Jeff Mull, has been providing advocates with T-shirts and yard signs while maintaining a strong social media presence since the group was organized earlier this year.

They hope they’re convincing more people to vote “yes” this time around after two lopsided defeats the past four years.

AP Reports Brown County Seeking Tax Hike for Courthouse Renovation

By the Associated Press in the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette:

Brown County officials struggling to solve space and accessibility issues at the county’s outdated 130-year-old courthouse are taking another run at residents in hopes they’ll support a tax increase for an expansion.

Residents in September overwhelmingly rejected a proposed $6.5 million bond project to upgrade the building in the popular tourist destination.

Though no accessibility complaints have been filed, county officials say that at a minimum, they need to bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

That means making the restrooms wheelchair-accessible and building ramps in the Circuit Court courtroom, where stairs lead to the judge’s office, The Herald-Times reported.

Other options include expanding the existing courthouse in the center of Nashville or building a facility adjacent to the law enforcement center east of town.

Brown County Commissioner John Kennard said remodeling and expanding the existing courthouse is the most logical answer.

“It’s old and fits the motif of the town,” Kennard said.

Making the historic brick building accessible to those who use wheelchairs will cost about $70,000.

The full expansion would cost about $6.5 million, which would increase property taxes on a home assessed at $100,000 by about $22 a year.

“I think we have to at least make the building accessible. ... We are out of money, but we have to look at that and start somehow, and there’s no reason to do this twice if we go with the expansion,” Kennard said.

Kennard said meetings are planned with residents, and he’s hopeful they’ll come around.

“I would think more and more people are going to start siding with the need to expand and remodel the existing courthouse,” he said.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Revenue Finds No Error in Imposing Indiana Sales Tax Where Taxpayer Given Credit for Kentucky Sales Tax Paid on Purchases

Excerpts of Revenue's Determination follow:

Taxpayer is a business with operations in several states. As the result of an audit, the Indiana Department of Revenue ("Department") determined that Taxpayer had not paid sales tax on some tangible personal property ("TPP") at the time of purchase during the tax years 2009, 2010, and 2011. The Department therefore issued proposed assessments for use tax and interest for those years.

Taxpayer protests the imposition of use tax on some of its purchases of TPP during the audit years of 2009, 2010, and 2011. The Department determined that, on certain purchases of TPP, Taxpayer's Kentucky-based vendor had charged Kentucky sales tax at six percent, while Indiana's sales and use taxes were seven percent. The Department gave Taxpayer credit for the six percent Kentucky sales tax already paid and imposed Indiana use tax on the one percent difference from Indiana's seven percent rate. Taxpayer protested that it had already paid sales tax.

Therefore, if a person properly paid sales tax to another state, under IC 6-2.5-3-5, the Department will give a credit in the amount of the other state's sales tax against the amount of Indiana use tax due. In this case, the Department did just that. Therefore, while Taxpayer is correct that it paid sales tax at the time of purchase, that sales tax was Kentucky's six percent tax. Indiana's seven percent use tax was reduced by the six percent Kentucky sales tax, resulting in a one percent Indiana use tax imposition on those purchases. The Department correctly applied IC 6-2.5-3-5. Taxpayer has not met the burden of proving the proposed assessments wrong, as required by IC 6-8.1-5-1(c).

Because Drums were "Returnable", Revenue Finds Taxpayer Failed to Show Sales Tax Assessment was Improper

Excerpts of Revenue's Determination follow:

Taxpayer, an Indiana company, manufactures various lead-based chemicals. Taxpayer does not produce end products, but rather produces chemicals that other manufacturers use in their respective processes to obtain certain desired qualities in the manufacturers' final products. Taxpayer's customers typically purchase Taxpayer's products exempt from sales tax because the customers purchase the items as raw materials for their own respective production processes and because Taxpayer typically ships its products out of state.

Pursuant to a sales and use tax audit for the years 2008, 2009, and 2010, the Indiana Department of Revenue ("Department") assessed Taxpayer additional sales tax, penalty, and interest on steel drums Taxpayer purchased to hold Taxpayer's products for shipping to Taxpayer's customers.

Taxpayer argues that steel drums it uses to fill with its lead-based chemicals to sell to customers enjoy an exemption under IC 6-2.5-5-9. Taxpayer states that it only receives a small number of the steel drums back from customers. Taxpayer also alleges that federal laws and regulations regarding the nature of Taxpayer's products prohibit customers from returning the steel drums. Therefore, Taxpayer argues, the steel drums should be considered nonreturnable containers.

During the audit, Taxpayer's shop manager deemed the steel drums as returnable. Taxpayer stated that Taxpayer or Taxpayer's accounting representative wanted to look into more information regarding the steel drums. However, Taxpayer did not provide further information to the Department prior to the Department's completion of the audit.

During the administrative hearing, Taxpayer echoed the shop manager's statements, deeming the drums returnable. But Taxpayer argued that the steel drums do not come back to Taxpayer. Further, Taxpayer averred that federal regulations prohibit the return of those drums that contained lead-based materials shipped outside the United States.

The Department requested that Taxpayer provide the alleged federal rules or regulations, as well as any other information that Taxpayer thought supported Taxpayer's arguments. While the Taxpayer subsequently provided a schedule showing that some of the subject steel drums were not returned, Taxpayer did not provide any other information that contradicted the Department's determination that the steel drums were customarily returnable. Taxpayer did not provide evidence sufficient to show that the Department's assessments were inaccurate.

The Department issued ten percent negligence penalties for the tax years in question. Taxpayer protests the imposition of the penalties.

Taxpayer has met its burden of proof to show that the deficiencies it incurred are due to reasonable cause and are therefore not subject to a penalty under IC 6-8.1-10-2.1(a).

Updating Referendum Information for May Primary: LOTS of Schools Seeking Additional Tax Dollars!

Construction Project Referendum


  • Elkhart Community Schools, Elkhart County
    Madison Consolidated Schools, Jefferson County
    • School Tax Levy Referendum

      MAY 2014 ELECTIONS

    • Concord Community Schools, Elkhart County
    • Elkhart Community Schools, Elkhart County
    • Eminence Community School Corporation, Morgan County
    • Lanesville Community School Corporation, Harrison County
    • MSD Boone Township, Porter County
    • MSD of Decatur Township, Marion County
    • Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation, Hancock County
    • White River Valley School Corporation, Greene County
    • http://www.in.gov/dlgf/8789.htm

      DLGF Holds Distressed Unit Appeals Board Hearing for Boone Township Schools


      Notice is hereby given that on April 16, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. the Distressed Unit Appeals Board
      (DUAB) will conduct a public hearing regarding the Petition for Non-Binding Review of a Bond
      Refunding filed by the Metropolitan School District of Boone Township at One North Capitol,
      Indianapolis, IN, 46204 in the ninth floor conference room.

      The hearing is being conducted pursuant to IC 6-1.1-20.3, IC 5-1-2-2, IC 5-1-5-2.5, and the
      Open Door Law IC 5-14-1.5 upon the Petition of the Metropolitan School District of Boone


      Herald-Times Reports Bloomington Owes Monroe County Over TIF

      From the Bloomington Herald-Times:

      There’s a final number for the amount of money the city of Bloomington owes Monroe County’s Westside or Richland Tax Increment Financing District: $440,191.70. Now the question is, when that money will be collected?

      The Monroe County Redevelopment Commission received a final report from Financial Solutions Group, Inc., which provides the annual reports for all three of the county’s TIF districts. The report states that between 2009 and 2013, money was incorrectly divided for six parcels in the Westside TIF District.

      Pharos-Tribune Reports Logansport Redevelopment Commission Proposes New TIF Expansion

      From the Logansport Pharos-Tribune:

      The Logansport Redevelopment Commission is now considering including land surrounding Water Street in a proposed consolidation of the city's tax increment financing districts.

      A tax increment financing, or TIF, district, captures the increments of an area's total assessed value as it increases over time to use as incentives for development projects.

      The city's three TIF economic development districts are located in the Cass County-Logansport Industrial Park, on the city’s east side and spanning an area between U.S. 35, Burlington Avenue and Main Street.

      Logansport City Council voted in favor of the redevelopment commission's recommendation to combine these three districts into one large district last fall.

      However, the consolidation is not yet possible because the land required to connect the industrial park district to to the one spanning U.S. 35, Burlington Avenue and Main Street is proposed annexation territory currently being contested in court by landowners.

      Those in favor of the consolidation say it will allow for more flexibility in using TIF funds to attract development across the city than reserving collected funds for corresponding districts.

      Because the city's downtown TIF district is a redevelopment district rather than an economic development district like the other three, it cannot be included in the consolidation and will retain its own funds.

      In order to successfully complete the consolidation while awaiting an outcome on the annexation remonstrance, the redevelopment commission is considering designating about 257 acres around Water Street as a TIF district.

      Courier-Journal Reports Indiana Tax Refunds Help Pending Identity Quiz

      From the Louisville Courier-Journal:

      The Indiana Department of Revenue has sent out letters notifying some taxpayers that their individual income tax refunds will be withheld until they fill out anew identity confirmation quiz on the state website.

      The state requires those who receive the letters to type in their Social Security Number, refund amount and correctly answer three of four questions aimed at preventing identity theft, according to the letter, provided to The Courier-Journal by an elderly woman who declined to be identified for this story.

      Those who don't have Internet access or who need help otherwise can call the revenue department, (317) 233-1642.

      The woman initially refused to fill it out, fearing it was a phishing scam.

      Some of those who serve elderly Hoosiers agreed.

      "That sounds like a scam up and down," Angela Marino, aging and disability resource center manager for LifeSpan Resources in New Albany.

      Marino got an email Tuesday confirming it was not a scam from Nancy Stone, Senior Medicare Patrol program director with the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging, after Stone first heard of it from a reporter.

      But a January press release from the state Department of Revenue confirms the letter is part of a program the state started this year in conjunction with research firm LexisNexus.

      "The identity protection program is a way the Department of Revenue is proactively protecting the identities and refunds of our Hoosier taxpayers," Department of Revenue Commissioner Mike Alley said in the January 15 statement.

      The state cited federal Justice Department statistics that shows identity theft resulted in more than $24.7 billion in financial losses nationwide in 2012. And more Americans' identities were stolen in tax-refund crimes during the first six months of last year than in all of 2012, according to the release.

      The department release goes on to state that Indiana "will be using the automated identity verification services of LexisNexis to help confirm the identities of all Hoosier taxpayers due a refund in 2014. Information will be submitted to the LexisNexis identity verification database. It is expected that more than 90 percent of all returns will be verified as a result o this process."

      The identity-confirmation letters are "an additional level of protection" sent to some selected taxpayers, who themselves are not considered suspects of identity theft, department officials said.

      To learn more about identity-theft protection, go to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's website, www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2853.htm.


      Times Reports Beauty School Wins Tax Exemption in Porter County

      From the Northwest Indiana Times:

      The Don Roberts Beauty School succeeded Thursday in renewing its tax exempt status with the county.
      The Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals voted 2-1 to grant the tax exemption after determining the business qualified as a trade school.
      The lone vote of dissent was cast by PTABOA member Nick Sommer, who voiced concern about the business making profit by having students directed to it from area high schools.
      Company President Barbara Roberts told the board that at least 60 percent of her students attend area high schools.
      The high schools pay about half of the standard $17,000 tuition for the year-and-a-half-long program, she said.
      PTABOA member Joe Wszolek said the schools would likely have to provide the education themselves if the Don Roberts program was not available.
      Roberts said the school has been in existence since 1970, but only learned of and secured the tax exemption around 2008.
      The PTABOA had to decide not only if the school qualified for an exemption, but also whether it would be as a trade school or under the education section of the statute.

      Times Reports Porter County Hospital Again Challenges its Assessment

      From the Northwest Indiana Times:

      Porter Regional Hospital is again challenging the assessed value of its new its new building and nearby medical office building.
      The hospital has filed a petition with the Indiana Board of Tax Review claiming the buildings at Ind. 49 and U.S. 6 should be valued at $39.3 million for March 1, 2013, as compared to $244.5 million placed on it by the Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals.
      The hospital, through its representative Uzelac & Associates, claims the county's assessment was not based the "true tax value" as defined by the assessment manual and assessment guidelines.
      "Assessments developed by methods not prescribed by the Indiana Assessment Manual and Guidelines do not carry the presumptions of correctness," according to the petition.
      The hospital also claims the assessment is not uniform with similar properties.
      An attempt Thursday to secure comment from the hospital was unsuccessful.
      This is the second petition for review filed by the hospital. The business is also challenging the assessment from the year prior, claiming the buildings should be valued at $34.2 million for March 1, 2012, as compared to the $117 million placed on it by the PTABOA.
      This latter value represent the period just before the new hospital opened in August 2012. The PTBOA determined the the new hospital was 90 percent complete.
      The hospital lost the first round of appeals for both years before the PTABOA. The 2012 appeal resulted in the county increasing the assessed value.