Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 Assessment Calendar

The Department of Local Government Finance issued a Memorandum establishing deadlines for the 2012 assessment:

2012 Assessment Calendar Memo Revised

Johnson County Library Board Approves Putting Referendum for $30 million Library and Improvements on May Primary Ballot

"The Johnson County Library Board voted Tuesday in favor of the referendum on the May 8 primary ballot.  The referendum, if it passes, would add about $14 a year to the tax bill for a $100,000 home."


Senate Bill 165 Creates Amnesty Plan for Taxpayers with Delinquent Property Taxes

'The Indiana Senate on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 165 enabling counties to permit a one-time waiver of fees and penalties for unpaid property taxes so long as the back taxes owed are paid.

The sponsor, state Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, said the legislation also will help counties clear their backlogs of unpaid tax cases.

Similar legislation was approved last week in the House."

Read the full story:


Howard County Assessor Reports that the Assessed Value of Farm Land Increased 85% Since 2005

"Howard County Assessor Jamie Shepherd said the state has set the assessed value for farm acreage for 2012 taxes payable in 2013 at $1,630 per acre, which is a 9 percent increase. That follows a 16 percent climb on farm acreage for 2011 taxes payable at 2012, which set the rate at $1,500 per acre.
Shepherd said since 2005 taxes payable in 2006, the state has raised the assessed value of farm ground from $880 to $1,630 for taxes due in 2013, an increase of 85 percent."

Read the full story here:


Ironically, Purdue University found the average value of agricultural land to range from $4,386 to $6,521 per acre:

"For the state as a whole, the 2011 survey found the average value of bare Indiana cropland ranged from $4,386 per acre for poor quality land to $6,521 per acre for top quality land (Table 1). Average quality cropland had a value of $5,468 per acre. For the 12-month period ending June 2011, the value of top, average, and poor quality land increased 22.8%, 23.7% and 25.3%, respectively."


Tax Court Hears Argument on Clark County's Appeal of the Denial of its Request for Excess Levy

See the full story here:


Howard County Becomes Second County to Allow Homeowners to Pay Property Taxes Monthly

From the Kokomo Tribune:

"Howard County is the second Indiana county to offer the monthly payment options through Star Bank. Allen County has been collecting monthly tax payments since 2010.

Normally property tax payments are due annually on May 10 and Nov. 10, and property owners who do not meet those deadlines are subject to penalties and interest for late payments.

However, the new system allows property owners to make 12 equal, monthly payments instead of two large payments. There is no monthly fee and the program is open to all property owners in Howard County."


Board Finds that Agreement at Informal Conference Resolved Appeal

"Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-1 governs procedures for the review of property assessments by the county property tax assessment board of appeals. Subsection (h) of that statute states that "a county or township official who receives a notice for review filed by a taxpayer … shall (1) immediately forward the notice to the county board; and (2) attempt to hold a preliminary informal meeting with the taxpayer to resolve as many issues as possible…" Ind. Code § 6-1.1-15-1(h) (2009). If the taxpayer and the assessing official agree on the resolution of the taxpayer’s issues at the informal meeting, the assessing official must forward to the county board and the county auditor a statement of the issues and the assessed value of the tangible property agreed to by the taxpayer and the assessing official. Ind. Code § 6-1.1-15-1(i)(1). If the county board receives the form prior to a hearing being scheduled, "the county board shall cancel the hearing." Ind. Code § 6-1.1-15-1(j).

* * *

Because the Board determined that the agreement between the Petitioner and the Porter County hearing officer during the informal hearing resolved the Petitioner’s appeal and was binding on the county, the Board need not determine the merits of the Petitioner’s case."

Chubb v. Porter County Assessor

Tax Court Finds that a Property Owner that Purchases a Property After the Application Deadline is Not Entitled to Claim a Homestead Credit in that Tax Year

"When a taxpayer claims entitlement to a property tax credit or deduction, he must establish that he comes within the specific statutory provisions allowing those credits and deductions. See, e.g., Indiana Dep‟t of State Revenue v. Estate of Daugherty, 938 N.E.2d 315, 320 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2010) (citation omitted), review denied. Accordingly, to establish that he qualified for the homestead credit and the homestead standard deduction, Mr. Fuller needed to show, among other things, that he owned his property on the March 1, 2007, assessment date for the 2007-pay-2008 period. See I.C. § 6-1.1-20.9-2(a); I.C. § 6-1.1-12-37. The certified administrative record in this case shows that Mr. Fuller did not own his home on March 1, 2007. Mr. Fuller, therefore, did not establish that he was eligible to receive the homestead credit and the homestead standard deduction."

Fuller v. Cass County Assessor

Board Denies Exemption to Fraternal Order of Eagles

"In his usage study, Mr. Rogers examined the use of each room contained in the Lodge for the year immediately preceding the assessment date under appeal. Mr. Rogers concluded that the Lodge was owned, occupied and used one-hundred percent of the time for charitable purposes. This is true even though non-charitable uses occurred in the facility during the period examined by Mr. Rogers‟ usage study. Because it steadfastly maintains that the subject property was devoted to a charitable use one-hundred percent of the time, the Lodge does not attempt to break down the property‟s usage between charitable and non-charitable activities. The Board therefore finds that the Lodge failed to establish it was entitled to an exemption pursuant to Indiana Code § 6-1.1-10-16 and Indiana Code § 6-1.1-10-36.3."

This determination was appealed to the Tax Court by the Petitioner: Fraternal Order of Eagles #3988, Inc. v. Morgan County Property Tax Assessment Board of AppealsCase No. 49T10-1201-TA-00004

Board Finds Property without a Homestead Deduction Still Entitled to Related Tax Cap

"Except for the land in excess of one acre, the undisputed evidence shows the subject property fits the statutory definition of a homestead - there was no dispute about the testimony that the Petitioner was living in the home in 2009 even though its construction was incomplete or about the fact that the Petitioner owns it. In other words, the subject property was a homestead that was eligible for the standard deduction, even though the Petitioner missed the filing deadline to get that deduction.

An interpretation that requires actually having the homestead deduction on the subject property in order to get the credit provided by Ind. Code § 6-1.1-20.6-7.5 would be overly restrictive. The county auditor should have applied this credit to the subject property even though the Petitioner‘s filing for the homestead deduction was late."

Tax Court Finds Appraisal Based on Sale-Leaseback Transactions Less Persuasive than other Market Evidence

"Given the uncontroverted testimony that sale-leaseback transactions often reflect the sale of more than just real property, the Indiana Board explained that one should approach the rental data from such transactions with caution, taking care to ascertain whether the sales prices/contract rents reflect real property value alone or whether they include the value of certain other economic interests. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 37-38 ¶¶ 57-58.) The Indiana Board determined that because Kerasotes’ appraiser exercised that caution in his income approach, while the Assessor’s appraiser did not, Kerasotes’ appraisal was therefore more probative than the Assessor’s appraisal. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 37-38 ¶¶ 57-58.)

Based on its review of the certified administrative record, the Court does not disagree with the Indiana Board. Indeed, in identifying and utilizing comparable rental properties in his income analysis, Kerasotes’ appraiser avoided those that had been sold in sale-leaseback transactions entirely. (Cert. Admin. R. at 156-58, 539-547.) In contrast, the Assessor’s appraiser indicated that all of his comparables had been sold pursuant to sale-leaseback transactions. (Cert. Admin. R. at 417-22, 424, 711-13.) Moreover, the Assessor’s appraiser never claimed that he made any inquiry into whether those "comparable" transactions involved the sale of real property interests alone or if they too involved the sale of other economic interests. (See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 573-621.)"

Kerasotes Showplace Theatres, LLC

Here is the Board's original determination that was affirmed by the Tax Court:


The Board also addressed the "lease fee" interest in Schooler v. Boone County Assessor:


Board Finds Day Care Facility Exempt

"KinderCare provides scheduled educational training, employs teachers with educational degrees, offers educational opportunities to children from lower income families who attend the early learning center on the government voucher program, and provides a program similar to the government sponsored Head Start program. Moreover, KinderCare teachers and staff meet, on a regular basis, with local public school officials to insure that KinderCare‘s curriculum is accomplishing its education objective. All of its programs, including programs for infants and children under the age of three, are a complement to and prepare children for enrollment in school by providing the foundational elements children need to thrive in more advanced programs. In other words, KinderCare‘s programs were designed to prepare pre-school children for school and other parts of the curriculum mirrored programs taught in several local, public schools."

KC Propco LLC

This matter is currently on appeal to the Indiana Tax Court as Johnson County PTABOA v. KC Propco, LLC, Case No. 49 T 10-1112-TA-00092

SB 142 Proposes to Place a Time Limit on the Validity of a Power of Attorney given to a Certified Tax Representative

Sec. 3.5.
A power of attorney that is executed by a taxpayer and after June 30, 2012, is filed by a tax representative (as defined in 50 IAC 15-5-1, as effective July 1, 2012) with the county board or the Indiana board:
(1) in a proceeding under this chapter; or
(2) as part of a notice or petition requesting a review under this chapter;
is not valid unless the power of attorney specifies that it expires forty-five (45) days after receiving a final determination, refund, or credit in the proceeding or review, including any subsequent appeal from the final determination in the proceeding or review, or three (3) years after the power of attorney is executed, whichever is earlier.

SB 142

House Bill 1072 Proposes to Extend Filing Dates for Property Tax Appeals

Proposes to extend the period in which to file for a property tax appeal from 45 days to 60 days.

HB 1072

Board Issues Notice of Intent to Adopt a Rule

The Board is revising its administrative rules for the first time since 2006.

Notice of Intent

Board determines burden shifting law applies to hearings held after July 1, 2011

"Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-17 places the burden of proof on an assessor when the assessed value of a property increases by more than five percent between assessment years. Thus, the "affected thing" would be the evidentiary hearing wherein the Board evaluates the proof offered by the parties. If the General Assembly had not intended the law to apply to pending appeals, it could have inserted language to that effect, stating that the law only applied to future assessments. This the Legislature did not do."

Echo Lake LLC v. Morgan County Assessor

Burden Shifting Legislation

On May 10, 2011, Governor Daniels signed House Enrolled Act 1004 into law. Section 32 of that act provides the following:

32. IC 6-1.1-15-17 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011]: Sec. 17. This section applies to any review or appeal of an assessment under this chapter if the assessment that is the subject of the review or appeal increased the assessed value of the assessed property by more than five percent (5%) over the assessed value determined by the county assessor or township assessor (if any) for the immediately preceding assessment date for the same property. The county assessor or township assessor making the assessment has the burden of proving that the assessment is correct in any review or appeal under this chapter and in any appeals taken to the Indiana board of tax review or to the Indiana tax court.