Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reporter Reports Abatement Approved for Subaru Investment in Lebanon

From the Lebanon Reporter:

A request for a non-traditional tax abatement for Subaru had Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis asking the city council Monday for a second on a motion to approve it and initially finding none.

The council considered a tax abatement for developer Pro Logis and client Subaru America, who may develop land off Interstate 65 behind Hattie B. Stokes Elementary. Pro Logis has held ownership of the land for 12 years. If Subaru decides to relocate to Lebanon from its current Whitestown facility, it will have a 10-year tax abatement from the city.

But the road to the approved abatement was difficult. - See more at:

Courier & Press Reports Both Evansville and Vanderburgh County Oppose Casino Bill Changes

From the Evansville Courier & Press:

In an attempt to keep Indiana riverboat casinos competitive with casinos in neighboring states, the Indiana state Senate recently passed a bill that would essentially cut in half city and county governments’ slice of taxes generated by riverboats.

The city of Evansville and Vanderburgh County stand to see up to $1 million cut from each of their general fund budgets by 2015 if the Indiana House approves Senate Bill 528 and it becomes law.

“The state is cutting back on something the residents of Vanderburgh County voted very strongly for,” Vanderburgh County Councilman Mike Goebel said during a council meeting Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t think we should let this happen without putting up a very strong fight.”

Both the County Commission and the County Council have passed resolutions this week opposing the proposed legislation. The county may send a representative to speak to the House when it hears the bill next month.

The county uses riverboat tax money for infrastructure improvements, drainage projects and to fund its initiative-based assistance program, which helps people with day care costs and work training so they can become gainfully employed, said County Auditor Joe Gries. The city uses it for capital improvements, including new vehicles for the fire and police departments, said City Controller Russel Lloyd.

When Casino Aztar opened in 1996 “this body made a decision at that point in time that we weren’t going to use the riverboat money as operations money, and we haven’t,” said Councilman Jim Raben. “But it is going to have an affect on these programs. We’ll lose the initiative based program. That might never pick back up.”

But the bill’s author, Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, said the changes are needed if riverboats are going to remain in business at all.

“Overall, this is designed to help riverboats compete with surrounding communities,” Boots said. “Evansville is not facing that right now because Kentucky’s not doing it. But Ohio has built many casinos, and Illinois is doing it. Riverboats are being competitively disadvantaged at this point. This bill will give them some tools to compete.”

One of those tools is a change in the way riverboat casinos are taxed. Riverboats currently pay a $3 head tax for every person that enters the casino; The new law would instead tax casinos on the amount of money gambled, which is estimated to lower the casino’s annual taxes by an several hundred thousand dollars.

The bill will also allow the casinos to move operations onto land, give them other tax deductions, and authorize table gaming at so-called racinos, horse racing tracks that now limited to electronic gaming.
The part of Boots’s bill that will cost local governments the most is a proposal to eliminate a decade-old supplemental payment the state has made to riverboat municipalities since 2002.

See the full article here:

Journal & Courier Reports Pence Signs First Bill into Law Delaying Farmland Tax Change

From the Lafayette Journal & Courier:

New calculations for property taxes on Indiana farmland will be delayed for another year under a bill that on Wednesday became the first to be signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence.

The measure — the first to reach the governor — unanimously cleared both the House and Senate in the past month in order to beat a March 1 deadline for when local assessors were to start using updated soil quality figures to determine tax bills for agricultural lands. Those changes were projected to lead to an average 25 percent increase in tax payments for farm owners.

Pence, who took office Jan. 14, signed the bill during a ceremony in his Statehouse office in front of a couple dozen farmers and legislative sponsors.

Pence said the proposal allows for “lowering taxes” on Indiana farmers, although the new calculations haven’t been put into effect — and were also delayed by the legislature during the 2012 session.

The bill requires the state Department of Local Government Finance and Purdue University agriculture researchers to prepare a review of the soil productivity measurement for the legislature to consider next year.

Pence and others said it was important to head off the estimated $57 million increase in property taxes for the roughly 62,000 farms in the state.

The governor said the bill is important because it will help keep Indiana farms competitive and allow the state to “avoid an unnecessary tax increase by the imposition of an assessment that doesn’t take in the unique challenges that Hoosier agriculture faces.”

Assessors use the soil productivity measurement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as one of the factors in determining the property tax bills for agricultural land.

The higher bills for farmers wouldn’t mean greater overall tax collections for local governments, as the bills for other property such as residential, commercial and industrial would go down by a similar amount, said Rep. Robert Cherry, one of the farmland tax delay’s sponsors.

Cherry said it was important for state officials to understand the changes in farmland tax assessment before farm owners see such a big increase.

“It’s not favoring one sector,” said Cherry, R-Greenfield. “All we’re doing is to make sure we do it right before the shift happens, because the worst thing would be to do it and end up in a lawsuit or with wrong information.”

Randy Kron, vice president of the Indiana Farm Bureau, said the organization believes the soil quality information is flawed and that having it studied more closely is among its top priorities.

“If it needs updating, it should go through the right authorities and the right people,” said Kron, who farms about 2,000 acres near Evansville. “I think they’ll find out, most likely, that there does not need to be a change to the factors right now.”

NWI Reports Lake County Tax Sale Scheduled for April 23-April 25

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

Lake County commissioners are preparing to sell more than 13,500 real estate parcels up for public auction this year to recover millions of dollars in unpaid property taxes.

The Board of Commissioners have scheduled two tax sales, planned to take place April 23 to 25 and July 23 to 25 at the Sydney Garner Auditorium in the Lake County Government Complex, 2293 N. Main St.

State law permits Indiana counties to recover unpaid taxes by taking ownership of the land and buildings on which the tax is due and selling them to the highest bidder.

The legal notice, published Wednesday in The Times, indicates 80 percent of the properties on the auction block are in the depressed city of Gary. Hundreds more are in Cedar Lake, East Chicago, Hammond and Lake Station.

There is a scattering of other delinquent properties in Crown Point, Hobart, Lowell, Merrillville, New Chicago, St. John and Schneider.

The sales reduce the burden of supporting local government on law-abiding property owners by prompting the tardy to settle up to avoid losing their property. The sales also generate millions of dollars more from real estate speculators buying the remaining parcels on offer.

Tribune Reports Chrysler Investing $300 Million in Tipton and Kokomo

From the Kokomo Tribune:

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announced late Thursday morning Tipton and Kokomo would collectively bring in more than 1,000 jobs and more than $300 million in investment dollars through the production 8- and 9-speed transmissions, a new technology that increases fuel efficiency in larger vehicles.

Governor Mike Pence was on hand for the announcement that stated Tipton will produce 9-speed transmissions, a move that will add 850 jobs and $162 million worth of investments.

In December, the Kokomo City Council voted to approve property tax breaks requested by Chrysler for $212 million in new equipment for its factories in the city. Tipton County officials also endorsed a similar request on Chrysler's $162 million plans to complete a sprawling factory along U.S. 31 that has never been occupied. German auto parts maker Getrag stopped construction in 2008.

Chrysler's request to Kokomo officials said the investment will help retain 3,400 jobs in the city.
- See more at:

Star Reports Governor will Push Tax Cut "Relentlessly"

From the Indianapolis Star:

Gov. Mike Pence said Wednesday he’ll push “cheerfully, respectfully and relentlessly” for a 10 percent cut in personal income taxes to convince a so-far reluctant legislature to enact it.

The budget that passed the Republican-controlled Indiana House on Monday night did not include the tax cut, which Pence made a key part of his election campaign and legislative agenda.

And the Indiana Senate has not committed to including it either, as legislative leaders in both chambers have said they have concerns about the long-term sustainability of the cuts at a time of national fiscal uncertainty. The House also preferred its tax cut choice: Speeding the demise of the inheritance tax.

Pence, a Republican, said he is “still disappointed that the House passed a budget that had significant increases in spending and not one cent of new tax relief for individuals, for working families and for most small businesses.”

Pence said he’s been traveling the state “at a pretty brisk pace, talking to Hoosiers in diners and at dinners and at everywhere in between” about the tax cut.

He hinted that he might be taking that case to a mass audience, as he did not rule out using campaign funds to run TV ads to pitch the tax plan.

“Look, I’m very committed” to making sure Hoosiers know the state can cut taxes and fund priorities, Pence said. “And I don’t want to comment on how we’re going to be communicating or whether we’re going to be communicating but I can tell you we’re burning up a lot of miles around Indiana carrying this case... I’m on the phone, I’m in meetings, I’m talking to people all the time.”

Democrats in the Indiana House tried to get Pence a vote on the tax cut plan during the budget debates, but Republicans blocked them.

Pence gave the Democrats a nod, saying: “I welcome the bipartisan support for income tax relief that we’ve seen in recent days. I’ve been watching from a distance what’s been happening in one chamber of the General Assembly and I appreciate the fact now that members of both political parties in the General Assembly have expressed support for income tax relief, and I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats to bringing income tax relief to Hoosiers as part of the final budget package.”


See the full article here:

Board Finds Respondent with Burden Failed to Support Property's Assessed Value

Excerpts of the Board's Determination follow:

Turning to the case at hand, both parties agree the Respondent has the burden of proof. The Respondent, therefore, had the burden of proving the March 1, 2006, assessment is correct.

Ms. Gaiter claimed the subject property was assessed using the same trending factors as the other properties in subject neighborhood. This assertion is not helpful in determining the subject property’s market value-in-use as of the valuation date of January 1, 2005.

Ms. Gaiter complained the burden of proof was on the Assessor due to a technicality. Actually, the burden of proof lies with Ms. Gaiter due to change in the Indiana Code. See ¶12 above.

Ms. Gaiter avowed she did not bring any evidence that would help support the 2006 assessment. Ms. Gaiter’s de minimis evidence is not sufficient to make a prima facie case.

The Respondent did not support the accuracy of the existing assessment with any meaningful market value-in-use evidence.

Since the Respondent failed to provide probative evidence that the current assessment is correct, the Petitioner’s duty to provide substantial evidence to support a more accurate assessment is not triggered. See Lacy Diversified Indus. v. Dep’t of Local Gov’t Fin., 799 N.E.2d 1215, 1221-1222 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2003); Whitley Products, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 704 N.E.2d 1113,1119 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998)

In other cases where the Respondent had the burden to prove the assessment is correct and the Respondent failed to carry that burden, the Board has ordered that the assessment be returned to the assessed value of the year before. In this case doing so reduces the assessment to $109,000.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Revenue Helps Hoosiers Report Tax Fraud Anonymously

Contact: Chetrice Mosley
(317) 232-2379

Revenue Department Helps Hoosiers Report Tax Fraud Anonymously

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 27, 2013) — Fraud and identity theft continue to be the number one concern of all tax agencies in 2013. Incidents are on the rise, and efforts to combat those illegal activities are also on the rise.

In fiscal year 2012, the IRS initiated approximately 900 identity theft-related criminal investigations, tripling the number of investigations initiated in fiscal year 2011. Direct investigative time applied to identity theft-related investigations increased by 129 percent over that same period.

The Indiana Department of Revenue also is seeing impersonation scams increasing during this tax season. They can take the form of email, phone calls, websites, letters and even tweets.  Scammers might also use a phone or fax to reach their victims. If you receive a paper letter or notice via mail claiming to be the Indiana Department of Revenue but you suspect it is a scam, contact the department immediately.

Although the department recognizes that most taxpayers are honest and seek to pay their fair share for the services they receive from the state, the department knows there are others who work hard to avoid their tax responsibilities. And, there are those who actively seek to gain tax refunds they are not entitled to receive – often using others’ identification information.

To help taxpayers avoid fraud, and to help taxpayers report suspected fraud, the department has launched a new fraud section to its website. Hoosier taxpayers can learn more about tax fraud and identity theft, read examples of how they can be affected, and report suspected tax fraud anonymously. This information and the fraud reporting tools can be found at

There are three ways to report tax fraud:
The department’s Special Investigation Unit Division, which has successfully investigated tax fraud cases for years, will look into cases reported by concerned citizens. Hoosiers who report tax fraud should note that due to confidentiality requirements, we cannot share the status of any investigation that might occur as a result of the information provided.

Fraudulent tax activities and identity theft are attempts to steal money from Indiana taxpayers. If you are suspicious of anyone or any activity, please do not hesitate to notify the department.

Courier & Press Reports Evansville Considers Rental Property Fee in Advance of Legislation Prohibiting Such Fees

From the Evansville Courier & Press:

Leaders of the Property Owners & Managers Association (POMA) of Evansville agree with a proposed city ordinance’s goals of less crime and better communication between landlords and law enforcement.
But they say such goals can be achieved in other ways, and they plan to speak against adoption of the ordinance at today’s called meeting of the Evansville City Council. It begins at 5:25 p.m. in Room 301 of the Civic Center.
Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin said this morning that the license fee, originally $50, has been sliced to $10.
Karan Woods, treasurer of POMA, said on Tuesday that the $50 fee originally in the license "is simply a tax. We don’t get anything for it. There’s no set of standards. It’s basically, we pay a fee, and they get contact information, and contact information is dynamic. There’s no value from a landlord’s perspective.”
POMA President Monte Fetter said the ordinance was crafted without input from landlords. He and Woods said POMA has long advocated a voluntary licensure program that would create incentives for property owners to participate.
For instance, they said signing up for the voluntary program would enable property owners to do up to $2,500 worth of remodeling work on their own, without having to obtain a city permit.
“It would basically do the same thing as the registry they are pushing now,” Woods said. “That’s an opportunity for the city to make some money and the landlords to get something in return.”
Police say their proposal is a tool to bring accountability to absentee landlords — those who live outside the region and can’t be found by tenants or authorities.
“The ordinance is not because we don’t have any good landlords. But there is a big problem with landlords and rental companies that aren’t from here,” said Sgt. Jason Cullum, an Evansville Police Department spokesman. “We can go to them and write a code violation and put a flag in their yard. But it’s a very tough fight to get things taken care of when we don’t have anyone to assist us.”
Local, responsible landlords “probably feel they are being lumped into the same basket” as those who live elsewhere and neglect their properties, Cullum said. But police don’t believe a fee for a license is unreasonable, since fees already are required to operate numerous types of businesses.
Revenue from the fee would go toward a training initiative for landlords touching on crime prevention, safety and legal issues.
Police say they have built support for the measure at the neighborhood level, where several renters are neglected by their missing landlords.
Leaders of POMA respond that a voluntary registry, with incentives to join, is a better solution. Woods said the group had been working with the City-County Building Commission on a program, but that process “seems to have gotten stalled” because of the city police department’s push for a mandatory license program.
Although Evansville Police Department has worked for months to develop their program, they pushed for quick action this week by City Council because of a move by the General Assembly to restrict such local ordinances effecting property owners.
If the moratorium clears both houses of the legislature, it would take effect on Thursday, City Council Attorney Scott Danks said.
But he said Evansville would not be impacted by the state’s action if City Council passes its own measure today.

See for example House Bill 1313

DIGEST OF HB 1313 (Updated February 25, 2013 6:22 pm - DI 84)

Regulation of residential leases. Provides that a political subdivision may not adopt a regulation after February 28, 2013 relating to landlord and tenant relations, rental agreements, or real property subject to a rental agreement that: (1) requires an owner or landlord to be licensed or to obtain a permit from the political subdivision to lease a rental unit; (2) requires an owner or landlord to enroll or participate in a class or government program as a condition for leasing a rental unit; or (3) imposes a fee or other assessment for inspection of a rental unit, registration of an owner, landlord, or rental unit, or for any other purpose other than a fee relating to the construction of a rental unit, such as a building permit fee. Provides that this prohibition expires July 1, 2014. Urges the legislative council to assign the topic of regulation of residential leases by political subdivisions to a study committee during the 2013 legislative interim.

Revenue Finds Taxpayer Failed to Sufficiently Support Claim for Research Expense Credit

Excerpts of Revenue's Determination follow:

Taxpayer files a joint income tax return with his spouse. Taxpayer is a one-hundred percent shareholder of an S corporation ("S Corp") which is a provider of sheet metal components and assemblies to a wide variety of industries, including medical, electronics, communications, appliances, transportation, government, computer, and lawn and garden. Services provided by S Corp consist of laser cutting, sheet metal fabrication, precision machining, welding and assembly.

The Indiana Department of Revenue ("Department") conducted an audit of S Corp for the years 2008 and 2009. S Corp claimed an increase in research activities for 2006 through 2008, which resulted in a "research expense credit" ("REC"). As the sole S Corp shareholder, Taxpayer claimed the REC on his joint individual income tax return. However, during the audit the Department determined that S Corp was unable to substantiate the claimed qualifying research activities and the related expenses and therefore disallowed the credit. The disallowance of the REC resulted in proposed tax assessments.

Taxpayer protests the elimination of RECs which it claimed on its 2008 and 2009 joint individual income tax returns, along with the resulting proposed assessments for additional adjusted gross income tax for those periods. Taxpayer argues that the RECs were properly claimed for both years.

In investigating the research expense credit taken by Taxpayer, the Department's auditor requested the documentation upon which S Corp had relied in claiming the credit. Taxpayer stated that the consulting firm conducted a "research expense credit" study at S Corp in the early 2000s. According to Taxpayer, the consulting firm it hired ("CF") interviewed S Corp's employees and determined the baseline of research expense credit that S Corp was entitled to. The majority of the credit represented wages.

Taxpayer provided the following documentation to the Department's auditor: (1) a 4-page analysis by CF that found S Corp qualified for the research expense credit a few years prior to the audit (note that neither S Corp nor Taxpayer had retained the underlying documentation); (2) the job titles and job descriptions for all individuals listed on the wage workpaper; and (3) the workpaper showing the percentage of wages which were allocated to research. When queried by the Department's auditor as to the source of S Corp's wage percentages, Taxpayer stated that CF told him S Corp qualified for an 80 percent allocation. Taxpayer believed then that if S Corp used a percentage less than 80 percent, that would be acceptable.

The Department's auditor asked for S Corp's documentation and support justifying the percentage allocation. Taxpayer stated that he had none. Taxpayer stated that he knew what projects the engineers work on during the year, and he then estimated the percentages based on the baseline developed by CF. In response to questions the Department's auditor asked, Taxpayer stated that he would not be able to document what a particular employee did on a particular day, nor which projects a particular employee had worked on. None of CF's work papers were retained by S Corp.

After the hearing, Taxpayer provided additional documentation, along with a cover letter dated January 17, 2012. First, Taxpayer presented 2007 through 2010 R & D employee listings as well as project lists for each of those years. Second, Taxpayer provided a description of seven 2008 sample product development projects. The descriptions listed the product and industry that the research was intended to benefit, the scope of the research and development work performed by the engineers and skilled tradesmen generally assigned to the project (it should be noted, though, that there was no allocation or estimates of the time these employees spent on each project). Also included with each project was a Job Cost Detail sheet that showed costs related to direct labor (not the engineers), and material and outside services associated with the project. The direct labor information was identified by work center, but not individuals' names. Third, Taxpayer presented a 2008 Research and Development Employee List which included job titles. Attached to this list was a job description of each job title. Lastly, Taxpayer pointed out the list he provided of S Corp's research projects only reflect the product development projects. Taxpayer stated that S Corp's employees were also involved in testing processes the time allocations of which CF had included in its estimated wage allocation for the REC.

Taxpayer notes that "due to the decrease in time spent by the employees on product development and process improvement projects, [S Corp] did not qualify for the federal or state research and development credits in 2010." Taxpayer presents this information as evidence of its good faith and credibility relating to its REC claims for 2008 and 2009.

The use of its consultant's baseline percentages is inappropriate for two reasons: (1) the baseline percentages were developed with a particular set of data, which, according to Taxpayer's own evidence has significantly changed year to year; and (2) the underlying data for the baseline calculations is not available which means the Department has no way of verifying Taxpayer's variation from the baseline year to year.

Again, Indiana adopts the federal interpretation of "qualified services," which includes (1) services rendered in performing qualified research; (2) direct supervision of qualified research activities; and/or (3) direct support of qualified research activities. IC § 6-3.1-4-4; Treas. Reg. § 1.41-2(c)(1), (2), (3). "'Direct supervision' means the immediate supervision (first-line management) of qualified research (as in the case of a research scientist who directly supervises laboratory experiments, but who may not actually perform experiments)." Treas. Reg. § 1.41-2(c)(2). "'Direct supervision' does not include supervision by a higher-level manager to whom first-line managers report, even if that manager is a qualified research scientist."

If an employee has performed both qualified and non-qualified services, in the absence of another method of allocation that Taxpayer can demonstrate to be more appropriate, the amount of in-house qualifying research expense shall be determined by a ratio of "total time actually spent by the employee in the performance of qualified services" to the total time spent by the employee in the performance of all the services the employee performed. Treas. Reg. § 1.41-2(d).

Taxpayer provided some documentation about the product development projects in which S Corp was engaged during the years at issue. That information does not specifically describe each employee's involvement in the project such that there is documentary evidence of the actual time spent working on the project or the type of qualified service provided by each employee. Also, the employee lists for each of the years at issue contain the name of Taxpayer himself who is the CEO of the company. Unless Taxpayer demonstrates otherwise, he, as CEO, cannot be assumed to be engaged himself in qualified research activities, or of being a front-line supervisor or supporter of those activities.
It is entirely possible that Taxpayer performs qualified research activities such that it could qualify for the REC. As stated above, similar to deductions, exemptions, and exclusions, tax credits are matters of legislative grace. The taxpayer who claims a tax credit against any tax is required to retain records necessary to substantiate a claimed credit. In this instance, Taxpayer has not met its burden to show that the disallowance of S Corp's research expense credit was incorrect.

Herald-Times Argues Time to Implement Food and Beverage Tax in Monroe County

From the Bloomington Herald-Times:

It’s time to implement a food and beverage tax in Monroe County, expand the convention center and reap the benefits.
It will take a while to get all that done, but that should be the prize at the end of the many steps ahead for the Monroe County Council.

The council began discussing the idea at a meeting Tuesday. Legislation to enable the council to pass such a tax was approved in 2009 by the General Assembly.

Officials estimate a 1 percent food and beverage tax could generate about $2.5 million per year to be used by the county for a dedicated purpose, in this case, presumably, to expand the convention center. However, an advisory council would be set up to decide how to divide revenue from the tax.

There undoubtedly will be a lot of opposition to the proposal, because, after all, it is a tax. And for many people, tax is a bad word.

But we’ve supported the notion of a food and beverage tax for a long time and continue to do so. The 1 percent would not be onerous for those who go to restaurants or bars to eat and drink. If someone had lunch out for $10, a dime would be added to a bill. Those who can afford to spend $100 for a dinner for two would be able to spend another $1.

People who buy groceries and eat at home would not be affected.

A reasonable question is: “What would these diners be getting for their money?”

The answer is, significantly increased economic activity from visitors who come to Bloomington and Monroe County.
A consultant’s report in 2011 estimated an expanded convention center could generate an estimated $19.7 million a year in direct and indirect spending from visitors who would use the new facility. The study noted the businesses that would be helped the most would be hotels, restaurants and bars. But other retail stores, service stations, arts and entertainment venues and other assorted establishments could also benefit from the additional number of visitors.

See the full article here:

Sun-Commercial Reports Vincennes Schools Contests "Flawed" DLGF Budget Formula

From the Vincennes Sun-Commercial:

Superintendent Greg Parsley reported to the school board Monday night that the state Department of Local Government Finance sent back the corporation’s proposed 2013 budget with a few reductions.

Parsley, however, said he’s confident the district will be able to operate on what the DLGF has allowed and that the only real battle he is prepared to fight is the rate tied to the capital projects fund from which the corporation draws to make repairs to its buildings.

The corporation asked to raise $3 million for CPF, but the state cut it by almost half.

Parsley said that decision is based on a “flawed” formula, and the corporation is owed at least another $125,000, which would bring the amount of that fund to more than $1.9 million.

He says the district was owed $125,000 last year as well.

In May, the school board voted to hire Barnes and Thornburg in Indianapolis to make its case to the DLGF and attempt to have the error in the state’s eight-step process corrected. If its not, Parsley said the corporation stands to lose $625,000 over the next five years.
•  •  •

Parsley had good news about the budget.

Assessed valuation is increasing. After remaining at about $555 million for two years, it was $656 million in 2012 and is expected to be over $708 million this year.

And even though an increase in AV hasn’t yet resulted, as it should, in more money for the corporation — or a lower tax rate for property owners — Parsley said that day could be just around the corner.

All it’s going to take, he said, is some consistency.

“What I need to happen is the AV to stop having these peaks and valleys,” he said.

The property tax caps passed by the General Assembly in 2008 have also affected how much the VCSC is able to raise. Before they were approved, the corporation received more than 100 percent of what it asked for each year, but beginning in 2009, that began to drop steadily.

Taxing entities can essentially ask for whatever they need in the way of revenue to operate, but once a property owner reaches the cap, no more can be collected. And not everyone pays their bill on time — or at all, for that matter.

So what school corporations, as well as municipalities and libraries, are able to collect is contingent on those factors. In 2012, the VCSC collected 84 percent of what it hoped to get. In 2011, it was only 75 percent.

And that, Parsley said, is another good sign.

“Yes, the tax caps are hurting us,” he said, “but that gap got a little bit more favorable this year to the VCSC.”

News Reports on Breaking Down Local Assessments in Shelby County

From the Shelbyville News:

While Shelby County's overall property assessment went down slightly after a review completed in November, most residental neighborhoods remained somewhat the same.

According to numbers provided by the Shelby County Assessor's Office last month, property assessment fell from $2.995 billion in 2012 to $2.891 billion in the most recent assessment. That is significantly different than numbers given to The Shelbyville News in November, and different from the numbers the state recently reported.

But, despite the confusion, the assessed value seems to be, at the highest, a 1.4 percent decrease, and at the lowest, less than a 0.3 percent decrease.

"Overall you didn't really see much of a change in assessed values," said Brad Berkemeier of the Nexus Group, the vendor that recorded the new assessments for Shelby County.

Berkemeier said there are several factors in play with the reassessment, one of which was home sales. Home sales for 2011 and 2010 were averaged by neighborhood to help come up with assessed value used in the reassessment.

Local real estate agents have been excited about industry-provided reports that home values are up and inventory is down in Central Indiana, which they say was due, in part, to a better economy and low interest rates.
But Shelby County Assessor Anne Thurston is quick to point out that assessed value is used for taxing purposes and not the same as a home is bought or sold for.

Berkemeier said home sales are only a part of a larger range of criteria which affected the outcome of the reassessment, which also includes new construction valuation provided by the state and appeals.

"It is vital to consider all the different activities that were performed to arrive at the 2012 assessments when analyzing any assessment data, whether it's on an individual parcel or within an entire county," Berkmeier said. "2012 assessments are largely the result of sales trending and reassessment efforts, but appeals review, splits, new construction valuation, sales disclosure verification, and income and expense analyses might also be factors causing changes in assessed value."


See the full article here:

Board Finds Weight of Evidence Establishes Property to be Agricultural Land

Excerpts of the Board's Determination follow:

The main question in these cases is the Petitioner’s claim for a change to agricultural land classification. The DLGF has been directed to establish rules for determining the true tax value of agricultural land. Ind. Code § 6-1.1-4-13(c). Agricultural land values are based on productivity, but only land actually “devoted to agricultural use” may be assessed as agricultural land. Ind. Code § 6-1.1-4-13(b). A taxpayer seeking to have its land assessed as agricultural cannot prevail merely by showing that agriculture is one of several activities for which it uses the land.

The Respondent had the burden of proof for 2006 and the Petitioner had it for 2007-2010, but that distinction does not change the outcome of the agricultural land classification issue because the weight of the evidence for the entire period establishes that the subject property should have been assessed based on agricultural land classification. The Board reaches this conclusion for the following reasons:

There is no dispute that the subject property consists of 96.14 acres. Aerial photographs show that it has a somewhat irregular shape with a house and barn located near one corner. A better view of the house and barn area is shown in two photographs, part of Respondent Exhibit A. There are few trees in the house and barn area, but it is a relatively small part of the entire property. The photographs also show a tractor, some other unidentified equipment, some fence, and large, round bales of something. These photographs support the purported agricultural use.

As part of his federal income tax returns, the Petitioner filed Schedule F, Profit or Loss From Farming, for 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. These documents state that the main product is “livestock.” The Respondent focused on the minimal farm income and the net losses shown on these schedules as an important indication that the subject property was not devoted to agricultural use. But the Respondents’ point has little significance because the record contains no evidence that the subject property was used for anything else. By itself, the fact that the Petitioner gets very little income from farming and operates at a loss does little, if anything, to prove that the subject property is not devoted to agricultural use.

The aerial photographs also show that much of the subject property has a significant amount of trees, but nothing establishes exactly how much. (Some testimony indicated half of the subject property is wooded.)

The Petitioner harvested pine needles from 2006 through 2008 and sold them to a pulp factory. (The Respondent elicited this testimony from Mr. Smith.)

The Petitioner admitted there is no timber management plan for the subject property and it is not a registered forest. While the existence of either factor is a significant indication that such land is devoted to an agricultural use, the lack of a timber management plan or registered forest status does not necessarily preclude it.

The Petitioner’s email to Mr. Smith provides more background and detail about the use of the subject property. If those statements had been offered as actual testimony from Mr. Fiene at the hearing, the Board’s determination would be much easier. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith chose to rely on the email, which clearly is hearsay. The fact that the Respondent allowed the email to be admitted to the record as Petitioner Exhibit 7 without an objection and then much later in the hearing asserted a hearsay objection complicates our analysis. Much of the problem with hearsay evidence relates to it being less reliable and less credible than non-hearsay evidence. If there was substantial evidence in the record that contradicted the statements in the email, the email would almost certainly have less weight. But here the Respondent made no attempt to disprove any of the statements in the email. In fact, although they focus on different points and draw different conclusions, the facts about the subject property as presented by both sides are entirely consistent. Even though it is hearsay, under these circumstances the Board will not entirely disregard the statements in the email. Accordingly, the following points provide additional support for the agricultural land classification.

 In 1992 the Petitioner purchased the subject property for a small farm. He and his father built the home in 1996-1998. The barn was built approximately a year later.

 Most of the wooded area has an upper canopy of scotch pine. Along the creek there is 15-20 acres of traditional native forest. The scotch pines were planted in the 1930s and are nearing the typical life-span. The state forester said they will not propagate and will eventually die off. Scotch pine is not considered good for lumber and is just used for pulp. The Petitioner purchased tractors and other equipment. For a few years he harvested the pines and sold them to Seymour Pulp Wood, but eventually that pulp operation closed. Subsequently, most of the logging equipment has been sold or scrapped, although the Petitioner converted the feller-buncher to a large round hay bale mover to aid in feeding the goats.

 It is going to take another 10-15 years for most of the native hardwood trees to achieve marketable size.

 The Petitioner began learning how to raise goats by buying a few wethers in the spring and raising them to slaughter in the fall. In about 2007, the Petitioner purchased breeding stock of Myotonic (fainting) goats to raise for meat. He started with 5 goats. Now he has 35. The wethers still are sold for meat.

 The goats help significantly with maintenance of the woods. They keep vines and underbrush under control. In addition, during the winter they occasionally eat the pine needles and newer bark.

 Currently about 25 acres is fenced for the goats. The Petitioner has been adding fencing over time to increase the area for the growing goat herd. When it is done, south of the creek there will be 70+ acres fenced for the goats.

Again, it is significant that the Respondent proved no other use of the property. Merely relying on the lack of income, the lack of current logging operations, lack of other crops, the lack of a timber management plan, and not being a registered forest does not nullify the evidence about raising the goats, harvesting and selling trees for pulp, using the pines to feed the goats, and growing hardwood trees that will be marketable in 10 or 15 years. The record contains adequate support for changing to an agricultural land classification.

In addition to the agricultural land classification, the Petitioner claimed the woodland should get a negative 80% influence factor. The record, however, does not establish how much of the land might satisfy the applicable requirements for woodland. The property record cards show the land divided into 3 segments consisting of 1 acre, 19 acres, and 76.14 acres, but none of the information relates to agricultural land classification or woodland classification. Mr. Smith made only a few conclusory statements about the negative influence factor for woodlands, but they do not provide a substantial basis for attributing any specific acreage or dollar amount as woodland, even if some of the land might qualify. And except to the extent the Respondent tried to establish that the subject property is not agricultural land, the Respondent completely ignored the woodlands negative influence factor.

Neither party offered any evidence or argument about what the assessed values actually should be when they are based on agricultural land classification. As a result, the Board can only determine that the Respondent must recalculate the assessed values for the subject property for 2006-2010 based on agricultural land classification.

Because the evidence is sufficient to prove the subject property should be assessed as agricultural land, the Respondent’s attempt to prove a value based on the selling prices of comparable properties is not relevant.

Journal-Gazette Reports Koester Metals Granted Incentives for Relocation to Fremont

From the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette:

Koester Metals, Inc. (KMI), a manufacturer of sheet metal fabrications and enclosures, announced plans today to relocate its headquarters from Defiance, Ohio to here, creating up to 44 new jobs by 2018.

“KMI is the latest company to look across the border and take notice of Indiana's business-friendly climate,” said Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “Our fiscal stability, robust infrastructure and strong workforce have made the Hoosier State the best place to do business in the Midwest.”

The company will invest $2.7 million to move its headquarters and operations to its existing 130,000 square-foot facility in Fremont. KMI also plans to relocate fabricating equipment from Ohio and update the Steuben County facility's software and technology. The company, which currently employs 16 Hoosiers in Fremont, plans to begin hiring additional welders, laser operators and brake press operators in April.


The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Koester Metals, Inc. up to $240,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The town of Fremont will consider additional tax abatement at the request of the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation.

NWI Reports Casinos Slam Gaming Bill

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

A casino bill that riled local communities now is riling casino operators, following changes made by an Indiana Senate committee.

Radical revisions made to sections of Senate Bill 528 dealing with the admissions tax and the deductibility of free slot play have soured many casino operators on a bill they originally supported.

"To have people saying this is legislation to help our industry out, when it doesn't help us out at all, is very puzzling," said Dan Nita, general manager at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond.

The bill as originally introduced in the Senate would have helped Indiana casinos compete with casinos in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.

Casinos in Ohio have 100 percent deductibility when it comes to free play, Nita said. The original bill would have granted that benefit to Indiana casinos, which currently pay taxes even on free play they give patrons as a bonus.

But the Senate appropriations committee knocked that down to where just $2 million of free play per casino can be deducted. Nita said his casino gives tens of millions in free play to patrons every year in various promotions.

At the $2 million cap, Horseshoe would realize about a $600,000 benefit when cross-border casinos are garnering a much larger benefit from deductibility, Nita said.

Those are the type of things corporate parent companies look at when deciding where to make investments in casino improvements or amenities.

In addition, the appropriations committee changed the bill's admissions tax provisions. As originally introduced, the bill eliminated the tax of $3 per head the casinos pay on each customer admitted. In its place, casinos would have paid a supplemental wagering tax equal to 2.5 percent of their revenue.

That tax swap was not intended to help casinos financially as much as it was intended to relieve them of the task of counting heads, Nita said. But the appropriations committee upped the supplemental wagering tax rate to 3.45 percent.

Nita estimates that would cost Horseshoe about $675,000 above what it currently pays in admissions tax.
"Why have a bill at all if it doesn't do us any good?" he said.


See the full article here:

Journal-Gazette Reports More and Better Jobs Mean More Tax Breaks in Allen County

From the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette:

Fort Wayne and Allen County have a new property tax break policy for businesses making new investments.

The City Council and County Council approved the changes Tuesday after about nine months of work by a joint city-county committee to improve the system and make them nearly identical.

The new system uses a more extensive points scheme to create larger rewards for companies that create more and better-paying jobs.

“There just was not an emphasis on job creation,” City Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, said.

“A retained job was worth as much as a new job.”

Under the new policy, higher-paying jobs are worth more points, as are jobs with good benefits. The more points a project scores, the longer it takes for the taxes to be phased in. Previously, there were only seven-year abatements and 10-year abatements; they can now be for as little as three years.

The abatements also have a new name: “Tax abatements” is out, while “tax phase-ins” are in because it better reflects what is happening, officials say. The increased property taxes that would be charged on new equipment or buildings is phased in rather than hitting all at once. The original property taxes continue to be charged.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding out there with the word ‘abatement,’ ” County Councilman Roy Buskirk, R-at large, said. “There is no refund of the current taxes paid on that property; (the phase-in) only affects the assessed value of new investment or equipment.”

The county approved 16 abatements in 2011 and eight in 2012. The city approved 37 in 2012 and three before Tuesday.


See the full article here:

Tribune Reports St. Joseph Considering Tax Abatement for Senior Living Facility

From the South Bend Tribune:

A tax abatement for a senior living facility will be considered at a public hearing of the St. Joseph County Council.
The council committee voted to send a petition from Diversified Real Estate LLC for Main Street South Bend LLC for a three-year, 100 percent property tax abatement at Tuesday's meeting.
This tax abatement request is not standard, according to attorney Pete Agostino. The default setting for a three-year tax abatement in Indiana is 100 percent relief the first year, followed by 66 percent the second year and 33 percent the third year.
Because of the $11 million investment, creation of up to 100 jobs and a potential average wage of about $32,000, they feel like the abatement is deserved.Agostino said the company is asking for the full 100 percent abatement for three years because they feel they meet criteria set forth in Indiana state legislation in 2011, which gives governing bodies, here the County Council, the ability to change the abatement.
"I think when you look at the statutes, it does weigh in favor of the project," Agostino said.
The project, a "next-generation living facility" called Mainstreet, was first heard at the Feb. 19 Area Plan Commission meeting. It will have a maximum capacity of 100 beds, with 70 reserved for skilled nursing rooms and 30 for long-term assisted living. The facility aims to provide more of a hotel-style experience, as opposed to a medical-style one, according to Laurie Schultz, director of development for Mainstreet.
The public hearing will be at the March 12 meeting of the County Council.

Tribune Reports Jackson County Approves Abatement for Valeo Investment

From the Seymour Tribune:

One of Jackson County’s largest industrial employers will gain another 51 workers this year as it responds to continued growth in the automotive market.

The Seymour City Council approved a $24 million tax abatement for Valeo Sylvania during a meeting Monday.

The automotive lighting company, located in the Freeman Field Industrial Park, is buying new manufacturing equipment to “support capacity increase and business growth,” according to statement of benefit documents filed with the city this month.

Since 1978, Sylvania has produced exterior lighting and signaling systems for automotive manufacturers including Ford, GMC and Mitsubishi and equips one out of four vehicles worldwide.

The abatement will allow the company to phase in paying taxes on the equipment during the next 10 years.

IBJ Reports Indianapolis Considers "High Tech District" for ExactTarget

From the Indianapolis Business Journal:

ExactTarget Inc. could get a 10-year tax break on an unspecified investment in new equipment if the City-County Council agrees to designate several parcels tied to the Indianapolis-based company as a "high technology district."

The measure, set for a hearing Monday evening, would allow the fast-growing company to install the equipment at a series of locations, including its existing office operations in the Guaranty Building on Monument Circle, the Century Building at Pennsylvania and Maryland streets, and the Gibson Building at Michigan Street and Capitol Avenue.

The filing also shows as eligible a series of parcels at Kentucky Avenue and West Henry Street west of Lucas Oil Stadium, and the block of surface parking that surrounds the Gibson Building on two sides.

The inclusion of the surface parking area around the Gibson Building seems to suggest ExactTarget is interested in building on the property. Company spokesman Mitch Frazier did not return a phone message left Monday morning.

With a proposed investment of $35 million, Exact Target would save about $3.3 million over 10 years, based on current tax rates for Center Township District 101.

One of the measure's sponsors, Democratic At-Large Councilor Zach Adamson, said the company must provide 100 new jobs at an average salary of $86,000 per year to retain the tax breaks.

IBJ Reports Polleo Granted Tax Incentives for Expansion in Carmel

From the Indianapolis Business Journal:

Carmel-based Polleo Systems Inc., a provider of cloud computing services, announced Wednesday that it plans to add 36 jobs by 2016 as part of a $2.5 million expansion.

The company, at 736 Hanover Place near City Center Drive and South Rangeline Road, said the investment will allow it to expand its cloud platform as well as lease and equip additional space.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. said it will provide the company up to $300,000 in performance-based tax credits and up to $40,000 in training grants based on the company’s job-creation plans in Carmel.

NWI Reports Senate Votes 50-0 for Lake County Income Tax Bill

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

Lake County may be more likely to adopt an income tax and Gary could become home to a new trauma hospital and port under legislation that breezed through the Indiana Senate on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 585, which now goes to the House, was approved 50-0 — continuing a string of unanimous votes by two Senate committees in favor of the proposal sponsored by state Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso.

"This has truly been a bipartisan, collaborative effort both here and up in Northwest Indiana," Charbonneau said on the Senate floor.

The measure changes existing state law by allowing Lake County to spend most of the proceeds of a 1 percent county income tax, instead of being required to use that revenue to reduce property taxes.

According to the legislation, a quarter of the new tax would have to be used for economic development projects. That could include a South Shore extension.

The Lake County Council must still approve an income tax for it to take effect.


See the full article here:

NWI Reports Homestead Deduction Purge Nets Millions in Taxes in Lake County

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

Lake County has squeezed at least $1.3 million from hundreds of residents who took homestead deductions they didn't deserve.

County officials are giving another 10,000 homeowners one more chance to prove they deserve their tax breaks before they lose it and begin paying higher taxes this year.

Lake is part of a statewide push to lighten the burden on law-abiding taxpayers by purging the tax rolls of ineligible homestead deductions, the most common, but frequently abused tax break since it lowers an individual's taxes by hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

State law permits a property owner to claim only one such deduction on their primary residence.

However, Hobart attorney David N. Gilyan, working for months as a consultant for the Lake County auditor, said he and a staff of three full-time assistants have already identified 330 persons now repaying $1.3 million in back taxes. He said he is pursuing thousands more this year.

He said some of the ineligible deductions appear to be honest mistakes involving the purchase of former homes later turned into rental properties. Some were families living in Illinois and maintaining a second home on the lakeshore.

The county is also sending out a final wave of pink forms requiring owners to provide their name, address, Social Security number, driver's license or state-issued identification card number, passport or work visa and sign the form, certifying they are eligible for their homestead credit.

The pink survey sheet has been sent out the last three years and resulted in tens of thousands of homestead credits being removed as ineligible, but a remaining 10,000 owners have either failed to respond or left their earlier form incomplete.

Those who fill it out and return it to the auditor's office can avoid losing their deduction before the May tax bills.

Governor Signs Soil Productivity Bill into Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            Contact: Kara Brooks
February 27, 2013                                                      
                                                                                                 Desk: 317/232.1622
                                                                                                 Cell: 317/941.9214
Indianapolis, IN - Governor Mike Pence today signed SEA 319, the first piece of legislation he has signed into law.   
The bill prevents an estimated $57 million property tax increase on Hoosier farmers by delaying the use of new soil productivity factors in farmland assessment until the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) and the Purdue University College of Agriculture complete a study on the process.  
The legislation, sponsored by State Senator Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg), passed unanimously in both the Indiana House and Senate.
In recent years, the DLGF requested and received new soil productivity factors from the United States Department of Agriculture. The proposed new soil productivity factors used for farmland assessment in Indiana could have caused an estimated 25 percent average increase in property tax payments for Indiana's farmers, dependent on the county in which they live.  
"Indiana is agriculture, and Lt. Governor Ellspermann and I appreciate the General Assembly's bipartisan effort to quickly pass this critical piece of legislation to help Hoosier farmers," said Governor Mike Pence. "It was a privilege for us to provide tax relief for family farmers in the very first bill we signed into law."  
First Bill Signing 
Governor Mike Pence signs SEA 319, the first piece of legislation he has signed into law, which prevents a $57 million property tax increase on Hoosier farmers.  


DLGF Publishes Final Rules on Oil and Gas Assessments and Adoption of Library Capital Project Fund Plans


Final Rule
LSA Document #12-548(F)


Amends 50 IAC 26-20-7 concerning file formatting requirements for oil and gas assessments. Amends 50 IAC 26-20-8 concerning file formatting requirements for real and personal property tax data. Effective 30 days after filing with the Publisher.

Final Rule
LSA Document #12-552(F)


Amends 50 IAC 9-2-5 concerning public notices of adoption of library capital projects fund plans. Effective 30 days after filing with the Publisher.

News and Tribune Reports Grooms' TIF Bill Passes Senate

From the Clark County News and Tribune:

A bill that would extend the life of two tax-increment financing districts in Southern Indiana passed the State Senate by a vote of 38-12 Tuesday. 
The bill — sponsored by State Sen. Ron Grooms — will now move to the Indiana House for consideration. Its sponsors there are Reps. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, and Steve Stemler, D-Jeffersonville.
The TIF districts proposed for an extended existence are in Clarksville and New Albany, according to a news release from Grooms’ office.
The Clarksville TIF area includes the former Colgate plant site, which the town is seeking to develop. The New Albany area that would be extended is the Charlestown Road TIF district, which includes the Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana. 
If approved by the House, the districts wouldn’t expire until 2038. 

House Bills Related to Budgets, Taxes and Assessment that Have Passed to the Senate

House Bill 1001

DIGEST OF HB 1001 (Updated February 25, 2013 9:36 pm - DI 84)

Biennial budget. Appropriates money for capital expenditures, the operation of the state, the delivery of Medicaid and other services, and various other distributions and purposes. Provides a school funding formula. Authorizes a hospital assessment fee. Extends the health facility quality assessment fee indefinitely. Allocates 1.5% of state gross retail tax collections to the motor vehicle highway account. Removes state police expenses from motor vehicle highway account distributions. Provides that the inheritance tax expires on January 1, 2018, rather than on January 1, 2022. Repeals the Indiana estate tax and Indiana generation skipping transfer tax. Reallocates certain racetrack casino revenues and cigarette tax revenues. Repeals the nursing scholarship and scholarships for special education, occupational therapy, and physical therapy students. Establishes student teaching stipends for minority students and high need fields. Transfers $150,000,000 to the state tuition reserve fund in each year of the biennium. Makes numerous changes to the administration of state programs.

House Bill 1007

DIGEST OF HB 1007 (Updated February 4, 2013 4:22 pm - DI 84)

Use tax nexus and collection. Specifies that using a location owned by a common carrier acting in its capacity as a common carrier is not considered using or maintaining a location in Indiana for purposes of determining whether a retail merchant is engaged in business in Indiana. Provides that for purposes of the Indiana sales and use tax law, a "retail merchant engaged in business in Indiana" includes any retail merchant who: (1) makes retail transactions in which a person acquires personal property or taxable services for use, storage, or consumption in Indiana; and (2) enters into an arrangement with any person, other than a common carrier, to facilitate the retail merchant's delivery of property to customers in Indiana by allowing customers to pick up property sold by the retail merchant at a place of business maintained by the person in Indiana. Specifies that a retail merchant may be required by the state to collect and remit sales or use taxes if any person conducts activities in Indiana on behalf of the retail merchant that are significantly associated with the retail merchant's ability to establish and maintain a market in Indiana. Provides that a retail merchant is presumed to be engaged in business in Indiana if an affiliate of the retail merchant has substantial nexus in Indiana and certain additional conditions are satisfied. Provides that a retail merchant is presumed to be engaged in business in Indiana if the retail merchant enters into an agreement with one or more residents of Indiana under which the resident directly or indirectly refers potential customers to the retail merchant, if the cumulative gross receipts from the sales by the retail merchant to customers in Indiana who are referred to the retail merchant by all residents is greater than $10,000 during the preceding 12 months. Permits the presumptions to be rebutted. Specifies that the use tax nexus provisions apply to transactions that occur after June 30, 2013.

House Bill 1011

DIGEST OF HB 1011 (Updated February 25, 2013 9:20 pm - DI 84)

Public mass transportation. Specifies that a county or city council (other than the city-county council of Marion County) may elect by ordinance to provide revenue to a public transportation corporation from the city's or the county's distributive share of county adjusted gross income taxes, county option income taxes, or county economic development income taxes. Authorizes the establishment of a metropolitan transit district by specified eligible counties through local public questions and provides for an appointed board to govern the metropolitan transit district. Provides that certain outlying townships of eligible counties may each separately determine whether to be included in the metropolitan transit district through local public questions in the outlying townships. Authorizes the metropolitan transit district to: (1) construct or acquire any public transportation facility; (2) provide public transportation service by operating public transportation facilities; and (3) issue bonds and otherwise incur indebtedness. Authorizes the Indiana finance authority to issue bonds and use the proceeds to acquire any obligations issued by a metropolitan transit district. Provides that in a county that has approved the local public question, an additional county economic development income tax (CEDIT) rate of not more than 0.3% may be imposed in that part of the county included in the metropolitan transit district to pay the county's contribution to the funding of the metropolitan transit district. Specifies that the CEDIT rate may not exceed the recommended tax.

House Bill 1018

DIGEST OF HB 1018 (Updated February 21, 2013 10:39 am - DI 84)

Financial institutions matters. Reduces the financial institutions franchise tax rate over four years, from 8.5% for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2014, to 6.5% for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. Makes the public deposits insurance fund a trust fund. Provides that the treasurer of state is the trustee of the fund. Requires a two-thirds vote by the general assembly before money in the PDIF may be used for a purpose other than paying expenses for the administration of the fund, investing, reinvesting, and exchanging specified investments, paying allowable operational expenses, paying claims on insured public deposits, and making deposits of uninvested funds.

House Bill 1070

DIGEST OF HB 1070 (Updated February 21, 2013 11:10 am - DI 84)

Cloverdale food and beverage tax. Authorizes the Cloverdale town council to impose a 1% food and beverage tax on taxable food and beverage transactions in the town. Specifies the uses to which receipts from the food and beverage tax may be applied.

House Bill 1116

DIGEST OF HB 1116 (Updated February 25, 2013 8:26 pm - DI 84)

Property taxes. Makes numerous changes concerning the administration of property taxes.

House Bill 1133

DIGEST OF HB 1133 (Updated February 4, 2013 4:30 pm - DI 84)

Use of food and beverage taxes. Authorizes Nashville to use its food and beverage taxes to finance, construct, improve, equip, operate, and maintain sidewalks and other streetscape improvements.

House Bill 1145

DIGEST OF HB 1145 (Updated February 25, 2013 6:52 pm - DI 84)

Various local government matters. Authorizes a political subdivision or municipally owned utility to charge a reasonable fee for convenience when accepting a credit card or bank card for payments. Provides that a convenience fee imposed by a political subdivision or municipally owned utility on a credit card transaction may not exceed $3, must be uniform regardless of the bank card or credit card used, and may be collected regardless of retail merchant agreements between the bank and credit card vendors that may prohibit such fees. Provides that unused and unencumbered funds from any fiscal year and certain specified sources may be transferred to a political subdivision's rainy day fund at any time. Provides that unobligated cash balances from any fiscal year and sources not specified by statute may be transferred to the rainy day fund if the amount of the transfer is specified in an ordinance or resolution and the transfer is not more than 10% of the political subdivision's annual budget. Provides that if a town publishes any of its ordinances in book or pamphlet form, no other publication is required in order for the ordinance to take effect. Provides that a town ordinance prescribing a penalty or forfeiture for a violation takes effect two weeks after the publication of the book or pamphlet. Provides that only the owner of a mobile home may obtain the permit required to move the mobile home from one location to another. Requires a county treasurer to notify the appropriate assessing official of the township to which a mobile home will be moved that a permit to move the mobile home has been issued. Requires the department of local government finance to develop a system for recording the property tax information for a mobile home that is not assessed as real property. Provides that the system must use an identification number that is unique to the vehicle identification number of the mobile home. Imposes recording and escrow requirements upon purchase contracts for a mobile home or manufactured home that is not assessed as real property. Provides that for assessment dates after December 31, 2013: (1) a contract buyer claiming the standard deduction with respect to a mobile home or manufactured home that is not assessed as real property while purchasing the mobile home or manufactured home under a contract must show compliance with the new requirements; and (2) an owner other than a contract buyer must attach a copy of the owner's title to the mobile home or manufactured home to the application for the deduction. Specifies that a reference to a manufactured home in the certificate of title law must be construed as a reference to a mobile home. Provides that mobile home community registers must be open to inspection by township and county assessors. Requires that the registry must include a copy of the permit authorizing the movement of the mobile home or manufactured home from one location to another or authorizing a transfer of the title to the mobile home or manufactured home. Specifies the information that must be submitted to the county recorder to have a contract for the sale of a manufactured home or mobile home recorded. Specifies that any applicable recording fees must be paid. Requires the county recorder to provide the submitted information to the county treasurer and to notify the appropriate assessing official that such a contract has been recorded. Urges the legislative council to assign the topic of public library funding and organization to an interim study committee during the 2013 legislative interim.

House Bill 1261

DIGEST OF HB 1261 (Updated February 18, 2013 6:17 pm - DI 84)

Property taxes in a covered county. Permits: (1) the current owner of a homestead in LaPorte County or another covered county to receive the deductions and credits that the current owner is eligible to receive for a current assessment date for all assessment dates for which delayed property taxes are due; and (2) the department of local government finance to authorize a delay in the payment of tax bills imposed for the March 1, 2012, or January 15, 2013, assessment date in LaPorte County or another covered county. Applies certain property tax procedures and policies that apply to delayed property taxes in LaPorte County to property taxes that are due and payable in 2013, including: (1) a right of a taxpayer to pay taxes by credit card, debit card, bank card, or electronic transfer; (2) a discretionary authority of the county council to authorize a 2% discount for property tax payments made within 30 days after statements are mailed or otherwise transmitted; (3) an exemption from tax sale for 12 months after the payment is due; and (4) permission to file an application for a standard deduction for a homestead within 45 days after the tax statement is mailed or otherwise transmitted. Requires these rights to be explained in the tax statement.

House Bill 1270

DIGEST OF HB 1270 (Updated February 21, 2013 2:48 pm - DI 84)

TIF districts for housing programs. Increases (from 150 acres to 300 acres) the total area that may be included in a tax increment financing (TIF) allocation area established for a housing program by a municipal or county redevelopment commission.

House Bill 1287

DIGEST OF HB 1287 (Updated February 12, 2013 2:59 pm - DI 84)

Local government reorganization. Provides that in the case of a governmental reorganization involving municipalities and townships that are participating units in a fire protection territory on the date the reorganization is approved by voters, the fiscal body of the reorganized political subdivision may establish an equipment replacement fund and impose a property tax for the fund in the same manner as participating units in a fire protection territory may do so. Specifies that if such a reorganized political subdivision establishes an equipment replacement fund, the department of local government finance (DLGF) may adjust the maximum property tax levy that would otherwise apply to the reorganized political subdivision in the same manner as the DLGF may adjust the maximum property tax levy of a civil taxing unit to meet the civil taxing unit's obligations to a fire protection territory.

House Bill 1296

DIGEST OF HB 1296 (Updated February 21, 2013 3:00 pm - DI 84)

Apportionment of broadcaster income. Provides that, for purposes of the statute specifying the amount of income attributable to Indiana for income tax purposes, sales of a broadcaster that arise from or relate to the broadcast or other distribution of film or radio programming by any means are in Indiana if the commercial domicile of the broadcaster's customer is in Indiana.

House Bill 1374

DIGEST OF HB 1374 (Updated February 19, 2013 2:46 pm - DI 84)

Taxation of customer-generator facilities. Provides that certain companies that: (1) ordinarily would be subject to taxation under the Indiana Code chapter concerning property taxes for public utilities; and (2) own definite situs property that is located in only one taxing district; may elect to file a personal property tax return for the definite situs property with the county assessor or (if applicable) the township assessor, instead of filing a return for the definite situs property under the Indiana Code chapter concerning property taxes for public utilities. Provides that the following taxpayers are not subject to taxation under the Indiana Code chapter concerning property taxes for public utilities: (1) A company that: (A) owns definite situs property that is located in only one taxing district; and (B) files a personal property tax return for the definite situs property with the county assessor or (if applicable) the township assessor. (2) A taxpayer that is participating in a net metering program or in a feed-in-tariff program offered by a light, heat, or power company.

House Bill 1472

DIGEST OF HB 1472 (Updated February 25, 2013 11:40 am - DI 84)

Jackson County adjusted gross income tax. Extends the period during which Jackson County may impose an additional 0.1% county adjusted gross income tax (CAGIT) rate to operate and maintain a jail and a juvenile detention center until 2024. Legalizes and validates taxes collected at the additional rate after June 30, 2011, and before July 1, 2013.

House Bill 1544

DIGEST OF HB 1544 (Updated February 25, 2013 10:26 pm - DI 92)

Various tax matters. Amends the law regarding economic revitalization areas to: (1) allow a designating body to establish an abatement schedule in all cases (current law allows designating bodies to establish an alternative abatement schedule); (2) provide that an abatement schedule approved for a particular taxpayer before July 1, 2013, remains in effect until the abatement schedule expires under the terms of the resolution approving the taxpayer's statement of benefits; (3) repeal a statute authorizing enhanced abatements; and (4) remove references to deadline dates that have already passed. Defines the term "common areas" for purposes of the circuit breaker credit law. Imposes a Class C felony penalty for sale, purchase, installation, transfer, or possession of an automated sales suppression device ("zapper") or phantom-ware.

House Bill 1545

DIGEST OF HB 1545 (Updated February 25, 2013 10:23 am - DI 84)

Tax credits. Makes numerous changes to the administration of the Hoosier business investment tax credit, the headquarters relocation tax credit, and the venture capital investment tax credit. Repeals the military base recovery tax credit, the military base investment cost credit, the capital investment tax credit, and the coal combustion product tax credit. Repeals the following tax incentives concerning airport development zones: (1) qualified employee deductions; (2) credits for qualified increased employment expenditures; (3) loan interest credits; (4) neighborhood assistance credits; and (5) investment cost credits.

House Bill 1546

DIGEST OF HB 1546 (Updated February 25, 2013 10:14 am - DI 84)

Tax administration. Makes numerous changes concerning the administration of the state gross retail tax, the adjusted gross income tax, the inheritance tax, the commercial vehicle excise tax, tax collection, penalties, and the registering and plating of certain commercial vehicles. Restores provisions repealed in 2012 concerning the deduction and credits provided to retail merchants with respect to prepaid sales taxes on gasoline and special fuel. Authorizes the disclosure of taxpayer information to a member of the general assembly or an employee of the house of representatives or the senate if the member or employee is acting on behalf of the taxpayer and certain conditions are met. Repeals obsolete provisions in the commercial vehicle excise tax law. Repeals the Indiana estate tax and the Indiana generation skipping transfer tax.

House Bill 1568

DIGEST OF HB 1568 (Updated February 19, 2013 5:38 pm - DI 84)

Real property subject to tax sale. In the statute concerning the sale of real property for which taxes or special assessments are delinquent, makes the following changes for purposes of the section that allows a county executive that holds a certificate of sale for a vacant parcel to sell the parcel to a contiguous residential property owner: (1) Provides that the certificate of sale will be sold to the successful applicant for $1, plus the amount of certain costs incurred by the county in the sale. (Under current law, the sale price does include costs incurred by the county.) (2) Provides that for purposes of the section, a "vacant parcel" includes an improved parcel. (Current law provides that a "vacant parcel" includes only an unimproved parcel.) (3) Specifies that the county executive may offer for sale the certificate of sale for a vacant parcel. (Current law refers to the sale of the vacant parcel itself.) Establishes an alternative urban homesteading program that provides for the following: (1) That an individual is qualified to receive real property offered under the program if the individual applies for and receives, within a period specified by the local agency administering the program, a rehabilitation loan eligible for insurance under section 203(k) of the National Housing Act. (2) That the conveyance of a dwelling to a qualified individual under the program shall be made for a fee of $1, plus certain costs incurred by the county in obtaining the property. (3) That before the vesting of a fee simple title in a qualified purchaser under the program, any material failure by the purchaser to carry out the agreement required under the program nullifies the agreement and all right, title, and interest in the property reverts to the agency administering the program.

House Bill 1585

DIGEST OF HB 1585 (Updated February 12, 2013 5:11 pm - DI 84)

Transfer of certain municipal territory. Allows a municipality containing any territory that is: (1) located in a township with a township assistance property tax rate that is 15 times the statewide average township assistance property tax rate for the preceding four years; and (2) adjacent to another township; to have territory of the municipality transferred to an adjacent township if certain conditions are satisfied. Provides that if sufficient voters of the municipality submit a petition requesting a transfer of such territory, a referendum shall be held on the transfer. Specifies that if at least two-thirds of the voters of the municipality who vote in the referendum vote to approve the transfer, the legislative body of the municipality may, within the one year period after the referendum, submit a petition to one or more adjacent townships requesting the adjacent township to accept the transfer of the territory of the municipality. Provides that if the legislative body of an adjacent township adopts a resolution accepting the transfer of the territory, that territory of the municipality is transferred to and becomes part of the township adopting the resolution. Provides that if no adjacent township adopts a resolution accepting the transfer of an eligible municipality's property: (1) the territory of the eligible municipality is not transferred; and (2) a subsequent referendum on the transfer of the eligible municipality's territory may not be held.