Monday, April 28, 2014

Board Finds Sale and Appraisal Not Related to Proper Valuation Date Insufficient to Support a Reduction in Property's Value

Excerpts of the Board's Determination follow:

c. The Petitioner presented evidence of the uninhabitable condition of the property. The Petitioner’s evidence, however, shows the condition of the property in 2009 which is months after the assessment date and almost a year and a half after the valuation date. Brown contends the poor condition of the property had been ongoing for a number of years, but the first environmental complaint documented in the evidence is June 30, 2009, and the photographs of the property were taken in August of 2009. Brown did not present any evidence in support of his opinion that the subject property was uninhabitable as of the relevant valuation and assessment dates. Statements that are unsupported by probative evidence are conclusory and of little value to the Board in making its determination. Petitioner Exhibits 1-5; Whitley Products, Inc. v. State
Board of Tax Commissioners, 704 N.E.2d 1113, 1119 (Ind. Tax Ct.).

d. The Petitioner presented an appraisal report prepared by Daniel Barrick. Barrick used sales of comparable properties to establish a value for the subject property of $4,400, post demolition. Barrick included his qualifications in his appraisal report, but nothing in the report states that Barrick is an Indiana certified appraiser. While Barrick’s assertions may not differ significantly from those made by a certified appraiser in an appraisal report, the appraiser’s assertions are backed by his education, training, and experience. The appraiser also typically certifies that he complied with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Thus, the Board, as the trier-of-fact, can infer that the appraiser used objective data where available to quantify his adjustments. And where objective data was not available, the Board can infer that the appraiser relied on his education, training and experience to estimate a reliable quantification. Here, however, there is no evidence that Barrick is a certified appraiser. He did not establish that he has any particular expertise in applying generally accepted appraisal principles; and he did not certify that he complied with USPAP in performing his analysis. Consequently, Barrick’s appraisal report lacks probative value in this case. See Inland Steel Co. v. State Board of Tax Commissioners, 739 N.E.2d 201, 220 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2000) (holding that an appraiser’s opinion lacked probative value where the appraiser failed to explain what a producer price index was, how it was calculated or that its use as a deflator was a generally accepted appraisal technique).

e. Additionally, the appraisal report was prepared on November 18, 2010, after the residence was demolished. The appraised value, therefore, is not indicative of the value of the property as of the valuation date of January 1, 2008, nor can the appraisal substantiate the condition of the property for the March 1, 2009, assessment date.

f. The Petitioner submitted a purchase agreement and a sales disclosure form for the subject property showing the property sold for $4,400 in August of 2011. The property sold as vacant land and was not the same property that existed on the parcel as of March 1, 2009.

g. The Petitioner failed to establish a prima facie case. Where the Petitioner has not supported its claims with probative evidence, the Respondent’s duty to support the assessment with substantial evidence is not triggered. Lacy Diversified Indus. v. Dep’t of Local Gov’t Fin., 799 N.E.2d 1215, 1221-1222 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2003).